A middling but mildly enjoyable little film, Onionhead can't seem to make up its mind about a lot of things. Is it a comedy or a drama? Is its main character likeable or a lug? Should we concentrate on the lead role played by Andy Griffith or shift focus to Walter Matthau's supporting character, who Matthau makes hard to look away from? At times, Onionhead feels like No Time for Sergeants if 90% of the laughs were removed. This wouldn't be such a problem if the lack o comedy were compensated for by an incisive character study or a compelling storyline, but Onionhead's people are not particularly deep (and often not very involving) and its plot meanders hither and yon. Griffith is great in the part, even if much of it is a retread of his Sergeants character with a slice of A Face in the Crowd's Lonesome Rhodes thrown in, but he can't compete with the young Matthau, who still had a significant of "young actor hunger" at this time and mercilessly, if often quietly, steals his scenes away from the star. Norman Taurog's direction is adequate, if unexceptional, and there are good turns from Felicia Farr, James Gregory and Joey Bishop.
by Craig Butler review