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  • What’s New Pussycat? | Review

    By | August 25, 2014

    What's New Pussycat

    Director(s): Clive Donner, Richard Talmadge

    Writer: Woody Allen (original screenplay)

    Starring: Peter O’Toole, Peter Sellers, Romy Schneider, Paula Prentiss, Woody Allen, Capucine, Ursula Andress

    What’s New Pussycat? stars Peter O’Toole as Michael James, the deeply blue-eyed handsome guy that all the ladies find strangely attractive—in the right light. Michael cannot get enough of the attention as he attempts to juggle his relationship with his steady, played by Romy Schneider, and the endless advances of a host of other women, including, but not limited to, Liz (Paula Prentiss), Renée (Capucine), and Rita (Ursula Andress). It’s a tough existence, so much so that Michael confides in the wacky therapist, Dr. Fassbender (Peter Sellers). Fassbender has issues of his own and latches onto Michael as he cruises through strip joints, bars, and hotels in France, colliding with female after female. Enter Victor (Woody Allen) a guy that is reminiscent of every Woody Allen character ever—he’s incredibly neurotic and looking for love, or something akin to love. Will Michael, Victor, and Fassbender learn to control their frenzied libidos and settle down or will they continue to run amok in the streets of Paris?

    If you happen to be searching for the best work of Peter O’Toole, Peter Sellers, or Woody Allen, What’s New Pussycat? is not that work. That aside, it is a film that will force a few laughs and proves an interesting time capsule for individuals craving some historical mind candy or the slapdash antics of a Woody Allen in his younger days. This would be Woody Allen’s first screenplay and is indicative of what would make him famous. Allen raises the one-liner to high art with one of the film’s best scenes, Richard Burton’s cameo with Peter O’Toole, taking place…in a bar. There’s also plenty of great banter between O’Toole and Sellers with the latter putting his slapstick abilities to good use. The charming Romy Schneider is the only actress that truly shines in this film although honorable mention goes out to Paula Prentiss as Liz, Michael’s flaky love interest.

    While Allen’s jokes and O’Toole’s genuine likability make What’s New Pussycat? a fun romp, the pacing of the film can make it a chore to watch. The womanizing becomes tiresome over time, especially the scene where all of our main characters end up at the same hotel for ten minutes of madcap door-to-door craziness. Alleviating some of this frustration are great location shots in Paris and surrounding areas as well as a manic go-kart chase through rural France and Ursula Andress parachuting into a car. Add to that the now ubiquitous soundtrack sung by Tom Jones and some fantastic art in the opening sequence and you’ve just about salvaged the movie…but only just.

    Rating: 6/10



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