What's Up, Doc? - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

What's Up, Doc? Reviews

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February 26, 2016
Funny early 70s comedy that was a throwback to the screwball comedies of the 1930s, particylarly something like "Bringing Up Baby" in which Streisand kind of plays the Hepburn character, and O'Neal is doing his best flustered Cary Grant. The movie involves a series of identical bags being traded and moved around sometimes unknowingly by the characters...and Streisand steps in to just wreak havoc on O'Neal's life as he attempts to win a grant. It is good fun, and captures that classic screwball feel while updating it a bit for a 70s audience. Those things should most definitely date the film, but they really don't, because at it's core this movie is pretty damn funny. The best bit is definitely the chase scene through San Fransisco near the end...it is big grandiose, slapstick fun. Oddly enough I saw at least some of this movie as a kid, and I'm not sure if I came in at the chase scene or not, but before discovering it's title, I had a very vivid memory of seeing that chase and the subsequent courtroom scene. I'm glad seeing it as an adult it proved to be even funnier than I remember.
February 22, 2016
Laugh out loud comedy!
February 6, 2016
HOWARD, WHY DOES SHE CALL YOU STEVE? - "The Story of Dr. Bannister and Mr. Steve",

...good olī Burnsy asks her completely overwhelmed fiance Howard "Steve" bannister. But in vain!
There is simply no answer to this question or to who for now is trying to grab just which one of the 4 completely identical bags with - of course - completely un-identical content. Because even before such questions only one of the numerous members of this motley heap of loonies could possibly answer at all, Barbra Streisand as Queen Qaos long already has added even more chaotic chaos to the chaotic situation, so that neither Steve nor Howard ever know whether they are male or female! It is simply H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S.

yes, HILARIOUS. In the very best slapstick and screwball manner director Bogdanovich speeeeeeeeeds up as you have never seen it. (except of course in Billy Wilder's "1,2,3")
The pace is so breathtaking, that amount of gags as high as the density of an atomic nucleus.
The performers play with childishly naive enthusiasm and esp. the two "ladies" Streisand and Kahn (as totally stiff-prudish Burnsy she is simply a blast!) are just brilliant.

The other ingredients:
1 hotel-room on fire in addition to the mentioned 4 identical bags, about 9 golf clubs, 2 certified window-jugglers and 1 pound of jewels, 0.07 Agents and 1 prehistoric collection of ancient rocks, about 8 tons of car scrap and all that topped with a pill-addicted judge just beyond of a nervous breakdown.
Well, that sounds silly, but quite interesting... doesn't it?

Esp. in the 70s many of imho the most absurd comedies were created. What's up doc is one of the best ones EVER!!!
(amongst + Monty Python's Holy Grail, Louis de Funes - Mr. Jo, and Inspector Clouseau)

Rating = 95% (a masterpiece!)
December 29, 2015
There was a time when Peter Bogdanovich could apparently do no wrong. This is pretty spot on approximation of a 1930s screwball comedy blended with a distinctly early 70s vibe. I'm not much of a Barbara Streisand fan, but she's pretty wonderful here, as are Ryan O'Neal, Madeline Kahn and an impressive supporting cast.
September 16, 2015
"A screwball comedy. Remember them?"
We definitely should.
November 28, 2013
Hilariously farcical and let by the wonderful Streisand, "What's Up, Doc?" is a true joy of a film.
July 24, 2015
Absolutely hilarious!
June 16, 2015
Babs rocks Howard's collection and the screen. One of the most hilarious chase sequences ever seen on film! A must-see!
October 7, 2011
A truly funny re-working of the classic Bringing Up Baby. Streisand is excellent and even sexy as the fast talking girl determined to win the professor's heart and insight comedic havoc where ever she goes. But the real gem is Madeline Kahn who is so brilliant she steals the whole movie. The thing is -- the whole movie is fast-paced, smart and charming. Many cinephiles and film historians like to rant that nothing can ever best Howard Hawks' 1930's screwball classic. I disagree and highly recommend it.
April 22, 2015
that was i bit insane. the best bit is the guy flying out of the car and into the water.
April 19, 2015
I had forgotten just how friggen FUNNY this was! Thanks to Stephen Rutledge for reminding me!!!
½ April 19, 2015
A screwball comedy, romcom, bit of a satire - this movie is way ahead of its time. It's a crowd pleaser that views as something that could be produced today. This is a highly underrated classic considering how light on substance it is.
January 2, 2013
If "Bringing Up Baby", "His Girl Friday", Ernst Lubitsch, Howard Hawks, and 1930s cinema don't mean anything to you, then "What's Up, Doc?" might not either. "What's Up, Doc?" is so good, though, you may start caring about those films and those directors and that era. The 1940s had film noir, the '50s had decadent, hip romantic comedies, and the '60s started cute and then went a little crazy (you cannot define them). Meanwhile, the '30s had the screwball comedy, a subgenre in which every character speaks like they're competing for the fastest talker in the world award and gets into situations you'd only find in your worst nightmares (e.g. cat-and-mouse games with leopards, falling in love with con artists/charming eccentrics). In other words, there's nothing better.
Apparently, Peter Bogdanovich thinks so too. He began his career as Martin Scorsese's brotha-from-anotha-motha (critically, that is) but has slowly faded, in terms of popularity and critical adoration (the last film he directed was "The Cat's Meow", a fluffer released in 2001). Like Prince, Bogdanovich hit his peak at the beginning of his career - naturally, keeping early acclaim is not an easy task. One can hardly fault him for being a quintessential '70s director: he has given us some of the best movies ever made. It's impossible to mention "The Last Picture Show", "Paper Moon", or "What's Up, Doc?" in the scope of cinematic history and only get a passing reaction.
But let's talk about "What's Up, Doc?" for a minute (or the rest of the review). It was made between the heaviness of "The Last Picture Show" and the sardonicism of "Paper Moon". Both were filmed in black-and-white, both were sad-funny (or just plain old sad), and both existed in a middle ground between bruising reality and sweeping cinematic fundamentals. "What's Up, Doc?" is the odd man out: it's filmed in color, is a full-blown comedy, and has nothing to say about culture except for a superiorly meta remark about "Love Story" (you know, the movie that made Ryan O'Neal a star?). It's a screwball comedy, though, and that's part of the fun. Most thought the genre died around the time 1949's "I Was a Male War Bride" came out; but no. "What's Up, Doc?" is too well executed and much too rib-tickling to be passed along as an homage. It's a cleverly conceived addition to an established genre that reigned all the way back to the days when Norma Shearer was still considered to be a big deal (and that was ages ago).
This time around, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant are replaced by Ryan O'Neal and Barbra Streisand with gusto; O'Neal is the square, Streisand is the cuckoo bird who wins him and us over with her unrealistic, unintentional humorousness. O'Neal portrays Howard Bannister, a musicologist in town with his overbearing fiancee (Madeline Kahn) to receive a grant offered by Frederick Larrabee (Austin Pendleton); Streisand is Judy Maxwell, a fast-talking, multiple collegiate failing woman who decides that Howard is the man for her, and that Howard, from now on, will be called Steve. Other guests pass through the hotel, including Mrs. Van Hoskins (Mabel Albertson), an aging socialite covered in gleaming jewels, Mr. Smith (Michael Murphy), a potential whistleblower carrying top secret files, Mr. Jones (Phillip Roth), who is following Mr. Smith, a bunch of thieves who hope to steal Mrs. Van Hoskins diamonds, and more. But that's not all. Four of these people are carrying identical bags; four of them lose their bags; and four of them find themselves in the possession of materials that certainly aren't theirs. Farcial tensions ensue.
It's difficult to write about comedy, especially comedy like this, because, in the case of drama or other sweeping genres, there is an opportunity to go deep in the analysis, pointing out a metaphor here, an allusion over there. "What's Up, Doc?" isn't particularly scholarly, nor is it sweeping or deep, but boy is it funny. A film like this takes a cinematic master that has the ability to make such plot complications read seamlessly, and Bogdanovich is the perfect man for the job. He has clearly studied the pulses of films like "My Man Godfrey" and "Midnight", and emulates them without a single flaw. It's short - a quick 93 minutes - and not one moment goes by without a smile, a laugh, or something like that. The dialogue gets the tone of "His Girl Friday" just right, and O'Neal and Streisand are just as good as Grant and Hepburn were in "Bringing Up Baby". (Streisand has never been better.)
And there's that car chase. That car chase. I can't give away too much, but I will reveal that obstacles include a glass wall, a street blocking ladder, a costume shop, a Chinatown parade, drying cement, a wedding, and even San Francisco Bay. Things that wouldn't be obstacles in real life but are here, somehow easy to accept. How the characters run into them I cannot say, but the way Bogdanovich executes the scene is effortless. Its comedic panache is almost erotic. Like I said earlier, though, comedies are hard to write about. So I'll put it shortly and sweetly: "What's Up, Doc?" is one of the best, and one of the smartest, and missing out on its pleasures may as well be a federal offense. So get moving, buster.
March 30, 2015
I originally saw this on television at my aunt and uncle's Kits townhouse in the mid-1970s. It probably was the film's television debut. Everyone else was downstairs at a party and I was enjoying cable-vision. I recall laughing my head off. Some of the jokes (that were not edited for television) probably went over my head (I was 9 or 10) but there were lots of slapstick gags, destruction of hotel suites, a car chase through San Fransisco, and a reference to Warner Brother's Bug Bunny cartoons. It was just as fun as an adult to watch free-spirit Judy Maxwell (Barbra Streisand) turn straight-laced professor Howard Bannister's (Ryan O'Neal's) life upside down. Peter Bogdanovitch wanted to make an updated 1930s screwball comedy in the 1970s and succeeded. Look for the late Madeline Kahn's debut appearance and a reference to Love Story in a throwaway gag.
February 15, 2015
With some very funny lines and scenes, hilarious car chase sequence, smart jokes and superb performance from Barbra Streissand, What's Up Doc? is a very funny and incredibly entertaining and endearing movie with energetic approach and well crafted plot. It is not always the funniest, it's sometimes repetitive and it is not quite as good as 1930s screwball comedies it pays homage to, but it is such a genuinely charming and engaging movie with likable characters, witty jokes and great acting that it comes very close to those movies which is certainly an admirable feat.
February 5, 2015
Streisand and O'Neal were hilarious together in this movie.
January 23, 2015
What's Up Doc is best described as a take on Bringing Up Baby, but with more crazy conflicts thrown in. 4 people each with a similar handbag containing different valuables book rooms at the same hotel. One of these people Judy, a woman of walking disaster wherever she goes, takes interest in one of the other guys Howard, a rock expert of sorts there to meet a doctor and get a sort of grant. Of course, Judy steps and pretends to be his wife without consent, which causes his trouble with his real wife gets him into a lot of unwanted trouble. Not only that but the bags get mixed up, never knowing which one is what. So the whole film is a game of cat-and-mouse and screwball hijinks. It's the sort of film that is obnoxious at first, but it really gets funny and it's great because everything is all over the map, people spying on others, chasing after bags, hiding secrets, and everyone being just as confused as you are! Barbara Streisand is loose, goofy and charming at once, seemingly likeable for a character who's annoying and oblivious to all the trouble she causes. I don't want to compare to Bringing Up Baby because they all do their own thing, but I enjoyed this one more because of how high the stakes are raised, as chaos spreads from Judy that starts a hilarious never-ending chain reaction of disasters, especially a classic car chase scene that parodies Bullitt but takes it to a whole new level! They really don't make films like this anymore, What's Up Doc is a pleasure to watch, and would watch this again!
January 18, 2015
Alocada,divertida una de las mejores comedias de los setentas.
½ December 7, 2014
A remarkable tour-de-farce. A personal highlight is when Hughes' character admits paternity.
October 22, 2014
Better than I expected for an old movie. Didn't find it romantic but it was a funny movie. Everyone is confused and chasing everyone. Lots of non-verbal humor.
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