Saturday 25 August 2012

Now You See Him, Now You Don't (1972)

A fun sequel to the popular Disney film The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes, this takes many of the same characters and has fun with some, yep, invisibility.

Kurt Russell is playing Dexter Riley once again and he and his friends are still getting by at school when they're not listening in on the meetings being held by the dean (Joe Flynn, also returning). There's a big science project happening, with students attempting to create something that will win a hefty cash prize for the school, and there's also the return of smooth criminal A. J. Arno (Cesar Romero).

It's a case of "the gang's all here" once again with Russell in the lead role, Robert Butler directing and Joseph L. McEveety handling the writing duties and that's not necessarily a bad film when it comes to undemanding family fare such as this. Kids getting hold of an invisibility formula makes for easy entertainment and Romero plays a great villain. The supporting cast - featuring Joe Flynn, Alan Hewitt, Jim Backus, Michael McGreevey, William Windon, Richard Bakalyan, Joyce Menges and Ed Begley, Jr - all do a good job and they're all likeable enough.

It's light, it's bright and pretty inoffensive and at first I was going to mark the movie down for being a bit . . . . . . . bland. But the more I thought about it, the more I considered what a good time I'd had watching the thing. When Kurt Russell first realises that he's managed to create an invisibility formula it leads to some varied effects and some unbelievable wholesomeness (really, as a teenage boy with an invisibilty formula I know what my first idea would be, sorry but it's true). However, things soon pick up with a great set-piece involving the dean in a game of golf, oblivious to the help that he's receiving. Then it's pretty much non-stop fun as things move towards an extended chase sequence in the third act.

Okay, if you're cynical or just not in the right mood for this film then you can easily pick it apart and sneer at the way in which it aims to just amuse and entertain the whole family but I must have been in the right, receptive, frame of mind for it because I was kept entertained throughout.


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