The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Release Date - Aug 14, 1953 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 74 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

For some, the best word to describe The Affairs of Dobie Gillis will be "cute," but its extremely modest charms will not be enough for most. Dobie is perky, but it's a desperate, artificial perkiness -- the kind of Hollywood-derived energy that annoys by its phoniness. Don Weis has directed the cast to play the film with their "wholesome" buttons pushed to the limit. As a result, even a genuinely appealing performer such as Debbie Reynolds comes across as a bit of a strain, while Bobby Van -- who requires careful handling in the first place -- becomes unbearable in a number of scenes. Fortunately, both Van and Reynolds are given a couple of opportunities to sing and dance, and they score well here. Bob Fosse does even better, creating a few small jolts of electricity that are otherwise missing from Dobie. Ultimately, though, the trite (and often unbelievable) situations, lame jokes, and banal dialogue overwhelm the good will that the musical numbers engender. Extremely undemanding audiences, or those with a very strong nostalgic bent for the good old days, may enjoy The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, but most are advised to give it a pass.