Smile - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Smile Reviews

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½ September 7, 2010
Michael Ritchie's "Smile" is a wry satire about a statewide high school beauty pageant that is frequently hilarious, and at times even insightful. Resisting the trappings of a conventional plot, "Smile" is made up more of a collection of subplots involving the contestants, judges, and administrators of the pageant. All the characters are well defined, if not all completely three dimensional. While Jerry Belson's script is brilliantly funny, it makes no bones about concealing the dark side of the comedy. The film is profoundly cynical about our (America's?) competitive nature, false smiles, and the values we truly hold dear.
August 13, 2010
Chiffon Noir. Cotton candy, made with glass.
July 25, 2010
Thorough take-down of a regional beauty pageant. Funny and true when focused on those issues, with the best work probably done by Annette O'Toole. However, the film also is scatter-shot enough to try to satirize the town's inhabitants as well, and it's here that the film loses one's interest, most especially in a lengthy subplot involving an ex-queen's husband's breakdown.
July 15, 2010
Blisteringly brilliant and genuinely insightful.
July 14, 2010
An inquiry into our society's values that asks what happens when American optimism becomes stale conformity and mindless adherence to a status quo, "Smile" is never bleak. In point of fact it is an uproarious comedy, with a number of hilarious subplots, among them an initaition into a lame secret society, a sabotaged talent show act, and the misadventures of three acne-scarred would-be pornographers. A beauty pagent is an obvious subject for a screed against American superficiality, but Michael Ritchie crafts a film of greater complexity. One shy contestant is asked a loaded question about abortion in a Q&A with the judges, and she smartly wriggles out of it by playing the role of the sweet young thing, telling them how relieved she is that she wasn't old enough to vote during a recent referendum on the issue (thank goodness she can rely on her elders to make such decisions for her!). Here is a girl who can say what is expected without drinking the koolaid. "Shit, I'm glad it's over," her friend tells her when the final curtain falls, and we share their relief, glad that they can see though the chintz.
½ July 1, 2010
Great '70s satire, rather Altmanesque I suppose, in which beauty contests are skewered. A seemingly unrelated subplot about a midlife crisis is actually a comment on the small-town mentality that promotes such idiotic pageantry.
June 29, 2010
under appreciated gem a precursor 2 waiting 4 guffman
October 26, 2009
Excellent satire, with humor that is more character-based and of contrasting dialogue than situational hijinx or gags. California beauty pageant culture and small town hypocrisy are the main targets, rather than mocking contestants. Characters exploit one another, revealing mutual hypocrises in a fairly naturalistic and believable manner.
½ July 7, 2009
Underappreciated gem that was far ahead of its time. Barbs fly left and right, as the cast has their claws out for this one.
½ May 14, 2009
a good subtle comedy from the mid 70s done right in the heat of the women's lib movement (or a couple years after). there are some very subtle jokes and social commentary and overall, made some very astute observations. this is definetely a strong precursor if not psuedo-remake of the slightly superior drop dead gorgeous
½ May 6, 2009
Ok, if you haven't seen this, get your TiVo or Netflix on it right away, as it is well worth it. Darkly funny, sometimes subtle, and makes you squirm (in an "oh my god I can't believe he just said that" sort of way) all through it.
April 13, 2009
Early Michael Ritchie film from 1975 that take dead aim on small town values and traditions by attacking a the production of a "Young American Miss" competition in California. What director Ritchie does here so well is attack these values without attacking the characters personally by making them seem more foolish than need be, in the same way that Raymond Carver does by allowing them to show their errors while still giving them their humanity. The young talent, O'Toole, Griffith do a fine job but I so genuinely miss Bruce Dern, a quality actor who really did justice to so many films in the 70s and 80s. A funny and occasionally weird film that is worth seeking out.
½ September 21, 2008
Hilarious and unremittingly dark comedy about a teen beauty pageant; director Ritchie, as in his BAD NEWS BEARS (1977), populates his world with completely believable characters, and creates the same near-documentary feel. Remarkable, real and funny.
September 2, 2008
Great, lost classic, with one of the best punchlines of all time. Dern is phenomenal.
August 23, 2008
parts of the movie were funny but after an hours worth it got really repetitive and a little boring
July 14, 2008
Loved. This. I'm not sure they would be able to get away with it today-especially the, ah, overexposed teenage Melanie Griffith. Nice comparison of Bruce Dern's "Big Bob" character with his Tom Buchanan in the '74 Jack Clayton/Francis Ford Coppola version of The Great Gatsby (only a year before this). And yes! The pageant director's husband is indeed Chancellor Arnold from 90210.
January 17, 2008
A hilarious, sometimes dark, satire of beauty contests and the American Dream. After seeing this I have less of an appreciation for 'Drop Dead Gorgeous,' because this pulled off what DDG was trying to do, but much better.
½ December 2, 2007
Satire that seems less biting now but which delivered plenty of laughs upon release.
½ October 27, 2007
Interesting...I expected it to be more satirical. This started to seem like too long of a movie toward the end, when the story was going into 2 or 3 different subplots. The beauty pageant theme is perfect material for a Christopher Guest-style mockumentary!
½ September 15, 2007
Exceptional satire, reminiscent of Robert Altman.
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