The Cool Ones (1967)

Genres - Comedy, Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Rock Musical  |   Run Time - 98 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - NR
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Review by Craig Butler

Some bad movies are more entertaining than their much better cousins, and The Cool Ones falls squarely into that category. Make no mistake about it: this is a very, very bad movie. A supposed satire, the barbs it lobs at its targets are inane and often pointless -- which pretty well summarizes both the plot and dialogue as well. (In what other movie would the appellation "rainbow trout" be considered a compliment?) The performances are simply atrocious, with Roddy McDowall clearly (and rightfully) embarrassed. Debbie Watson and Gil Peterson don't seem to be aware of how ridiculous their roles are, lending their performances some amateurish innocence; it doesn't make their acting any better, but it adds to the fun. The musical numbers, of course, are unforgettable, including "High," set aboard a tram climbing a mountain, and the entirely too groovy dance fad "The Tantrum." Peterson's "Secret Love" and Glen Campbell's "Just One of Those Things" are also memorably bad, but nothing compares to Mrs. Miller's frightening and hilarious "It's Magic." As far as the choreography goes, it's energetic, very period, and totally pointless. Gene Nelson's direction is entirely off the mark, which turns out to be a blessing; if he had left the performers to their own devices and just let the camera roll, the end result would have been just as bad, but considerably duller. Unlike other bad musicals (such as Xanadu), The Cool Ones' lack of quality makes it a great deal of fun -- at least for a while.