S.O.B. (1981)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Satire, Showbiz Comedy, Sex Comedy, Tragi-comedy  |   Release Date - Jul 1, 1981 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 121 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Donald Guarisco

Although it is steeped in mordant wit, S.O.B. is much more than just a comedy. Blake Edwards's poison-pen valentine to Hollywood is equal parts comedy and drama. For every gut-busting slapstick gag, there's a finely observed bit of backdoor wheeling and dealing or an unexpectedly touching moment of pathos. Edwards' script (partially inspired by his and Andrews's experiences with their legendary flop Darling Lili) occasionally lags a bit in terms of pacing because it attempts to juggle so many characters and satirical targets at one time. Nevertheless, this problem is more than made up for by the script's endlessly quotable dialogue and its array of fascinating, sharply etched showbiz characters. S.O.B. further benefits from a dream cast that gives their all to bring Edwards' biting tale to life. Richard Mulligan is both achingly poignant and delightfully unhinged as Felix, Julie Andrews fully delivers on the comedic and dramatic fronts as she gleefully trashes her goody-two-shoes image, and William Holden brings a totally believable "Hollywood lifer" sense of weariness to Cully. The supporting performances are just as skillful, especially Robert Webber's hysterical turn as a perpetually exasperated press agent and Loretta Swit's tongue-in-cheek performance as a foul-mouthed gossip columnist. However, the film's biggest scene-stealer is Robert Preston, who deals out an endless stream of eye-wateringly funny quips with razor sharp timing as the delightfully verbose quack, Dr. Feingarten. In short, S.O.B. brims with enough detail and wit to overcome its occasional excesses and is well worth a look for anyone interested in Hollywood-minded satires.