Good Neighbor Sam (1964)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Comedy of Errors, Domestic Comedy, Farce  |   Release Date - Jul 22, 1964 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 130 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Silly and dated, Good Neighbor Sam is nonetheless very enjoyable, the kind of lightweight fluff that's so innocuous that many people will be willing to overlook its many flaws. There's the length, for example -- 130 minutes is simply too long for something so inconsequential; if it never really wears out its welcome, it still forces the viewer to become very aware of the mechanics underpinning the screenplay. The chief reason for its length is another of its faults, namely that it is excessively overplotted. There are enough plots, subplots, and developments to fill two or three movies, and this eventually deadens the fun (and at times the pacing). And while there are any number of good lines and some hysterical sequences, there are also a fair share of groaners and a few moments that simply fall flat. These flaws would all be fatal were it not for the excellent cast, especially the ace-in-the-hole leading man, Jack Lemmon, who, for a while, specialized in this brand of comedy and could often make dross shine like gold. He's matched by a delightful Edward G. Robinson, who seems to be having a tremendous time with this change-of-pace role, and there's terrific support from Louis Nye and Robert Q. Lewis, among others. Add in some sets that simply scream "1964" and an irresistible Frank De Vol score, and there's plenty here to provide a pleasant bit of escapist entertainment.