Hello Down There Reviews
-Thanks to Hello Down There this goofy song has been stuck in my head since 1969!
least 30 years. It's lost a lot of the magic now that I am an adult, but was still
good to watch. The abrupt ending was very disappointing though.
Look, I'll describe it. You'll see that, on paper, it sounds incredible.
Tony Randall and Janet Leigh play the parents of a brother and sister that play in "Harold and the Hang-Ups," a pop band headed by mop-haired Richard Dreyfuss. Randall's boss (Jim Backus!) has spent loads of money on Randall's latest engineering project, an underwater house with all the amenities, but isn't convinced that it will work, so he sends Randall's family down to live there for a month. They're joined by the band, but curiously, not their housekeeper, the constantly-drinking Myrtle, played by Charlotte Rae.
It's a good thing, too, because Myrtle's their only contact to the outside world when teen millionaire Roddy McDowall takes a shine to the Hang-Ups music thanks to his pop-sensation-reactor-computer and gets them a gig on the Merv Griffin show. Will the band make it to Merv in time? Will Janet Leigh overcome her fear of water to live underground? Will Randall's rival Ken Berry and his assistant Arnold Stang find gold underwater? And what about those sharks circling the underwater house?
There's loads about [i]Hello, Down There[/i] that should be instantly appealing. There's a pet seal and multiple dolphins floating around. There's a great pallette that consists only of prime colors which makes the thing look great on DVD. There's loads of goofy technology that makes the average "Jetsons" episode look well-researched. There's the all-star cast flopping around and tripping over themselves constantly. There's the Hang-Ups songs, which consists of ditties like "Glub, Glub, Glub/I'm floating on a sea of love."
Camp classic, right? Undiscovered knuckleheaded masterpiece, right?
Not quite. See, the jokes that are there aren't any good--there's not really a single genuinely witty gag in the entire film, and no matter how much overacting anyone in the cast does (which is plenty), they can't disguise that. Even worse, there's not enough lousy gags in the film--it's mostly the same ones repeated endlessly. It's stupid enough to make [i]Slam Dunk Ernest[/i] look like [i]Manhattan[/i], and most of the jokes just involve, well, people falling down. Usually into water. It's also got sub-plots that go nowhere, like a nearby navy submarine picking up sonar signals every time the band plays.
It still looks great, sure, and the music is fun--the first time you hear it. By the third rendering of "Glub, Glub, Glub," you're ready to go back to 1967, find Jeff Berry and strangle him until he promises not to write music for the next ten years. And while you're at it, make him promise not to write the "Family Ties" theme song.
In the end, the best thing I can say about [i]Hello, Down There[/i] is that it's a cheerfully optimistic, brilliantly garish piece of knuckleheaded tripe. I'm a big fan of enjoyable low-I.Q. movies, but this couldn't provide entertainment to Terry Schiavo, and at 97 minutes, it's way too long. In a sad, desperate way, it's enjoyable due to the cast, but it's really even too stupid for me. And that's pretty stupid.