In the Navy (1941)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Military Comedy, Slapstick  |   Release Date - May 30, 1941 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 85 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Sure, the plot of In the Navy isn't worth very much, but since when does plot have anything to do with whether an Abbott and Costello picture is any good. Truth to tell, making art was never high on the duo's list (nor on the list of any filmmaker who engaged them for a project); making fun was, and there's plenty of fun in Navy. It's silly fun, to be sure, but fun nevertheless. Naturally, anyone who tires quickly of the pair's personalities and typical high-jinks will soon lose interest in Navy, and it's for these viewers that the lack of a decent plot becomes a liability to Navy. The one that has been slung together, involving Dick Powell avoiding his fans by enlisting and Costello pretending to be an admiral, is a lot of hooey. When not letting Powell sing, that stretch of the film gets awfully boring awfully quickly. And it also must be admitted that the tunes concocted for Powell and for the terrific Andrews Sisters are not really top drawer; the performers do very well by them, but in lesser hands they would produce yawns. Fortunately, director Arthur Lubin keeps that focus on the performers, on the vocalists during the numbers and on the star comics at every other possible opportunity, and that's all to the good of the film. There are some classic bits here, including the multiplication sketch; the last named should amuse even those who don't ordinarily count themselves among Abbott and Costello's fans.