The April Fools (1969)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy  |   Run Time - 95 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Positively drenched in the 1960s, The April Fools is extraordinarily dated -- but this is a plus as well as a minus for viewers with an appetite for that decade. Those who delight in the styles, fads, and fashions of the day will find a great deal to enjoy here, especially during the lengthy party sequence that opens the film (and features an almost surreal '60s version of "I Say a Little Prayer for You") and the chicks-in-a-cage nightclub segment. The sense of era also permeates the script, meaning that there's some tasty dialogue mixed in with a great deal of vapid philosophizing, weak one-liners, and ineffective attempts to capture a genuine freedom of spirit. Catherine Deneuve looks gorgeous and has some affecting moments, but, overall, her performance is disappointingly hesitant and rather shallow. (By contrast, Sally Kellerman makes her clich├ęd part feel much fuller than it has any right to be.) Best of all is Jack Lemmon, delivering another of his deeply felt performances that is both touching and hilarious -- and, at times, chillingly sad. The supporting cast is top notch, and the title song is classic Bacharach and David. Stuart Rosenberg's direction is rather muddled, but Fools' biggest problem is the screenplay. Still, watching the movie as a time capsule rather than a film can be quite illuminating -- and fun.