The Tender Trap (1955)

Genres - Comedy, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Showbiz Comedy, Sex Comedy  |   Release Date - Nov 4, 1955 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 111 min.  |   Countries - USA  |  
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While it's hardly a great film, The Tender Trap is a cut above your standard, run-of-the-mill sex comedies, especially those that masquerade as romantic comedies. Trap's defects are easy to spot. The two leading characters, especially the one played by Debbie Reynolds, are the kind of opposites-attract pair that rarely exist outside of a writer's imagination. Reynolds, in particular, is a type that seems to have been born in a typewriter. It's not that extremely marriage-minded woman don't exist; it's that, even in 1955, they were not as single-mindedly determined in the manner that Reynolds is here. The lack of credibility extends to a lesser degree to Frank Sinatra, whose playboy's irresistibility to women just is a bit too much to believe. Much of the plot is too mechanical and predictable, and the audience only believes that Sinatra and Reynolds get together at the end because of the charm and persuasiveness of the stars themselves. That said, Trap does have some very fine moments, and the characters portrayed by Celeste Holm and David Wayne are actually quite nicely drawn. Helped along by the actors' superlative performances, these two characters really anchor the film and give it a degree of distinction. Without them, Trap would be entertaining but forgettable; with them, it lingers in the mind far longer than it really should.