My Favorite Wife is a fast-paced, delightful farce that sparkles from beginning to end. Unlike the vastly inferior remake, Move Over, Darling, just about everything in Wife is absolutely right, starting with that farceur par excellence Cary Grant and that quintessence of wifely charm Irene Dunne. Both of these excellent actors possessed impressive ranges, and both were experts at the kind of light-but-serious touch that material of this sort requires; if the touch is too light, the essential silliness of the piece becomes evident, and if it is too serious, it kills the fun. Grant and Dunne skate across the screenplay without slipping and falling for even an instance. They're aided, of course, by Garson Kanin's fluid, assured and "fun" direction; Kanin's sense of humor and natural feel for the material shines through in every frame. The director even gets a chance to briefly indulge his trademark fondness for quirky fantasy/dream sequences when Grant ponders his dilemma. Even with such a strong director and stars, however, the film could have been nothing more than moderately entertaining were it not for the solid, well-structured and above all funny screenplay that manages to hit the ball out of the park on almost every occasion. Add in a marvelous supporting cast and the professional polish supplied by the designers and technicians, and the result is a Wife that is a favorite indeed.
by Craig Butler review