Starring: Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Martha Hyer
Director: Melville Shavelson
Running Time: 110 mins
Houseboat is an American film about a salaryman who, after years of neglecting his children, finally has to be a good father. However, his struggles lead him to hire a sympathetic Italian woman to work as a maid during the family’s transition to living on a houseboat.
This is a perfectly lovely, simple and harmless comedy. With no more than four seconds of actual drama, Houseboat is the perfect prescription if you just need to relax. It’s not the greatest work of cinematic art, of course, but it does exactly what it sets out to do, and that’s give you a handful of good laughs, and a wonderfully pleasant time.
Let’s start with the film’s stars, Sophia Loren and Cary Grant. With regards to Loren, she’s fine. Her character, in keeping with the simple nature of the whole film, isn’t particularly interesting, and she therefore doesn’t have too much to do, but she’s always smiling and happy, and that does enough to keep up the happy tone of the film.
The best part of the film is probably Cary Grant. On the one hand, that’s just because he’s Cary Grant, and his naturally classy acting shines once again in this film. However, his character is the only one with a little bit of dramatic intrigue, all about his struggle to adapt to fatherhood and then get his children to really love him. Grant does a top job at bringing that across from the first moment, and he’s great to watch from then on.
Now, as I said, the story isn’t anything particularly special, and the only thing that will keep you interested is watching Grant play this man trying to become a good father. Fortunately, that does work out, but it’s the almost carefree lightweight atmosphere that makes this film such a pleasant watch.
The comedy is pretty good too. I wasn’t laughing non-stop, but there are still quite a few big laughs here and there, thrown in amidst the general niceness of it all, so it’s very easy to have fun with Houseboat, and that’s why it gets a 7.4 from me.