Hollywood had a love affair with the revue form but also mistrusted it intensely. Thus, they would produce many films like Variety Girl, essentially a revue but saddled with a flimsy plot to loosely connect (and give an excuse for) a number of songs and skits. Variety is a middling effort in the genre, an uneven excursion that sometimes soars and sometimes falls flat on its face. Among the highlights are a delightful George Pal puppetoon sequence built around the song "Romeow and Julicat"; Pearl Bailey lazily spilling out the languorously amusing "Tired"; the "Harmony" finale with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby; and the sight of Paulette Goddard clothed in soap bubbles. On the flip side, there's some annoying work from Spike Jones, a number of dated and decidedly unfunny skits, and the sight (and sound) of Alan Ladd trying to get through "Tallahassee." Mary Hatcher is quite good as the nominal star of the film, more than holding her own against the cavalcade of cameos and guest stars. There's nothing she can do with the flimsy plot and dialogue that is dull when not inane.
by Craig Butler review