Synopsis by Bruce Eder
Paramount Pictures' annual college musical of 1934 is a pip, as they used to say. Jack Oakie plays Finnegan, a conceited gridiron hero whose prowess on the football field is exceeded only by his appreciation of the ladies. But his strutting manner and accompanying overbearing ego have alienated his one-time best friend Larry Stacey (Lanny Ross), a serious, more scholarly type who deeply resents the adulation heaped on Finnegan. Things go wrong for Finnegan after he graduates, as he pins his hopes on a job offer from a business firm that folds soon after. He finally shows up at Stacey's department store, where Larry -- the owner's son -- has taken over as general manager; and Larry, finally having the advantage over Finnegan, seeks to humiliate him in the course of helping him out with a menial job. But as it turns out, Larry is no sterling success either -- he's turned his father's once-thriving department store into a haven catering only to the very rich, of whom there were precious few in the midst of the Great Depression; Larry is also such a self-involved prig in his own way, wallowing in self-pity where Finnegan wallows in self-adulation, that he scarcely notices that his own secretary (Helen Mack) is almost dying in her unrequited love for him. In order to save his business, Larry's father, J. P. Stacey (George Barbier), turns to Finnegan, the football hero who used to sell 60,000 tickets a week on the playing field -- Finnegan understands ballyhoo, and what the public wants, and is put in charge of the store, and also becomes captain of a football team fielded by the store. Soon the place is jumping, especially when Finnegan brings back his old college team waterboy Joe (Joe Penner) and his duck mascot Goo-Goo, and fetching blonde cheerleader/singer Mimi (Lyda Roberti). Larry is reduced to running a department in the store and finally decides its time to step up and take on Finnegan head-to-head, joining the store's football team. But there's treachery and dirty tricks afoot -- in between a bright score by Mack Gordon and Harry Revel -- when Stacey's takes on a team fielded by their arch-rival store, Whimple's, in a bitter grudge-match fueled by the two owners' mutual dislike for each other.
boss [employer], business-rivalry, college, department-store, sweetheart