Starring: Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Tony Randall
Director: Norman Jewison
Running Time: 100 mins
Send Me No Flowers is an American film about a hypochondriac man who, after a misunderstanding, becomes convinced that he only has two weeks to live, and so decides to find a suitable new husband for his wife after he dies.
Rock Hudson and Doris Day famously starred together in Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back, two almost identical but still delightful romantic comedies. Their third movie together, Send Me No Flowers, tells a different story, but it’s just as hilarious as the others (and sometimes even better).
Hudson and Day’s chemistry is brilliant from start to finish, and while they’re not playing a pair falling in love but a married couple, they have a fantastic love-hate dynamic that makes them huge fun to watch together.
But more than their chemistry, Send Me No Flowers lets the pair strut their stuff in excellent individual performances. Hudson is the main focus of the film, and he plays an excessive hypochondriac brilliantly. Never annoying or purely farcical, he’s hugely likeable despite his character’s countless moronic decisions.
Meanwhile Day, while not the centre of the film as she is in Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back, is still hugely lovable and energetic. Her unorthodox marital dynamic with Hudson is great fun to watch, and she’s able to play a slightly more relaxed, mellow role than the more uptight performances of the pair’s previous two films.
Beyond the delightful performances, Send Me No Flowers tells a hilarious story that plays on similar tropes of misunderstandings with crazy consequences. Following Hudson’s character after mistaking a fatal diagnosis for his own, the lengths that we see him go to in order to ‘prepare’ his wife for life after he’s gone are ridiculous, but backed up by genuinely sweet and well-meaning intentions.
His close bond with his best friend and neighbour (played by Tony Randall) is also really lovely, and it lends a pleasant, fluffy air to a story that could have been a manic farce. The story is pretty ridiculous, and the slapstick comedy is too, but with that blend of more heartfelt storytelling and all-out craziness, Send Me No Flowers proves a really fun watch.
It’s a film that had me laughing from start to finish, thanks to a brilliant story, great humour and two performances that go together just as well as ever. At times, Send Me No Flowers is even better than Pillow Talk and Lover Come Back; a thoroughly entertaining, light-hearted and energetic comedy, which is why I’m giving it a 7.8 overall.