I Was a Male War Bride doesn't reach the zany heights of earlier Cary Grant-Howard Hawks entries such as His Girl Friday, but that's hardly cause for complaint -- hardly anything is quite as good as the classic Friday. Bride is a thoroughly enjoyable, sometimes hilarious romantic comedy; it's just that the laughs don't come non-stop as they do in the very best of Hawks' work. Bride is a bit gentler -- and, it must be admitted, in the first half ever so slightly dull, as the film concentrates a bit too much on the on-location scenery and not on shifting the comedy into high gear. Once Bride gets going, though, the earlier bumps are easily forgiven. For his part, Grant is in top form, demonstrating once again what an invaluable farceur he was, and how irreplaceable he is in so many of his films. His co-star, Ann Sheridan, doesn't quite rise to his level, but she does do much more than adequately and in a number of moments truly shines. One does wish that there was a tiny bit more chemistry between the stars; it's definitely there, but it just falls a little short of being as natural and unforced as one desires. It's also a bit of a drawback that Hawks and his writers didn't set some of Sheridan's material up in a more sympathetic light, as Gates comes across as slightly mean toward Rochard at times -- and unnecessarily so. Still, these are small complaints and they don't keep Bride from being breezy, enjoyable and appealing.
by Craig Butler review