A Very Special Favor (1965)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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One of the many sex comedies that filled the screen in the 1960s, A Very Special Favor is of note for the presence of Leslie Caron in what would normally be the Doris Day role, and for some gay undertones which can't help but call attention to themselves when the film is viewed nowadays. Many will find Favor's premise -- that a woman not only can't be fulfilled unless she has a man but moreover that she can't be trusted to find the right one on her own -- a bit disturbing, shall we say. When one adds to the mix the fact that a father asks a veritable stranger to seduce his own daughter for her own good, it's easy to see why some would consider Favor too smarmy for its own good. It would help if Favor were riotously funny, but unfortunately it's not really much of a laugh-fest. There are some jokes and some good gags, but not enough to make it stand out. Caron is a help; if she's not a natural for the part, she still brings her special feistiness to the part and adds life. And she works quite well with Rock Hudson, an old hand at this kind of thing, whose performance here is good, if not outstanding. Charles Boyer does what he can with the role of the interfering father, and Larry Storch is amusing in a small part, but it's Nita Talbot that gets the attention among the supporting cast. She steals scenes with her precise timing and can do wonders with a small change in her tone of voice. The gay undertones, more pronounced given later revelations about Hudson, run throughout (especially in Dick Shawn's performance), but fly out into the open when Talbot dresses as a man and pretends to be Hudson's male lover. Things suddenly become much stranger and more surreal than the filmmakers intended -- and Favor for a few minutes is a film of some interest.