A turgid soap opera, Too Much, Too Soon is of little interest as an actual biography; even more than many other "biopics" of the time, this retelling of the sad life of Diana Barrymore strays considerably from the truth, because so many of the people involved were still living (and presumably willing to sue). As a result, the very specific details of Barrymore's life are replaced with vague generalities, preventing the audience from really getting to know the character and seeing her (and the other characters in her life) as little more than caricatures. The upbeat positive ending is particularly galling for those who know the truth about Barrymore. What saves Too Much is the sterling performance form Dorothy Malone in the lead role. Granted, even Malone can't make this script work, but she pours so much heart, soul, and talent into the clichéd situations and painful dialogue that she manages to win the viewer's sympathy, interest, and trust. She makes the picture much better than it has any right to be. As the legendary John Barrymore, Errol Flynn turns in a mixed performance. Perhaps not wishing to denigrate his good friend or perhaps simply wishing to add a missing dimension to the character, Flynn is a bit too restrained in some scenes, although he does let loose with some magnificent rage when necessary. On the whole, Too Much, Too Soon is too clichéd and overwrought, but Malone makes it watchable.
by Craig Butler review