Starring: Tony Curtis, Debbie Reynolds, Walter Matthau
Director: Vincente Minnelli
Running Time: 116 mins
Goodbye Charlie is an American film about a high-rolling womaniser who is murdered, then awakes in the body of a woman. Confused and without an identity, it is up to his best friend to get him back on his feet.
A fluffy, far-fetched comedy above all else, Goodbye Charlie is a movie that you can have some good fun with, though it’s hardly the most entertaining film ever made. With enjoyable performances from Tony Curtis and Debbie Reynolds, the film entertains with good energy, although it struggles to endear itself as a result of less-than-lovable characters and a fairly repetitive screenplay.
Let’s start on the bright side, though, with those two lead performances. While their characters may have left a little to be desired, both Tony Curtis and Debbie Reynolds are great value here. Curtis plays up a weaker-willed, confused man who doubles as the voice of reason, while Reynolds has huge fun pretending to be a man who has come back to life as a woman.
The pair have good chemistry throughout, however it’s Reynolds’ womanising shenanigans that provide the most entertainment, with the actress really giving her all in an unorthodox role.
That on-screen energy is without doubt the best part of Goodbye Charlie, but it also proves enjoyable thanks to a light-hearted and fluffy atmosphere. In tandem with a story full of loose 1960s morals, this is a movie which is more than happy to forget about the restrictions of the real world, and so plays around with whatever it feels like.
At times, that results in a rather far-fetched or overly convoluted series of events, but it also opens the door for some brilliant moments of farce here and there.
For the most part, the film is at its most entertaining in the early stages, as Reynolds navigates his/her new body and Curtis tries to get to grips with what’s going on. Later on, however, the film loses a little of that fun-loving farce with an unnecessarily complex and drawn-out story where Reynolds isn’t able to play up the character in such entertaining fashion.
Overall, then, Goodbye Charlie is far from a perfect movie, and perhaps takes its concept a little too far. However, with great on-screen energy from its leads, a fun-loving atmosphere and a playful attitude throughout, there’s still a lot of fun to be had with it, so that’s why I’m giving it a 7.1.