Comedy, musical, romance. That’s Love Me Tonight. Unfortunately, the songs are all poorly-written. Their structure is often a simple rhyming one with lazy rhymes (e.g. “guy – high”). Worse than any technical criticism is that they just aren’t catchy, interesting or inspired in any way. The film is occasionally funny and the romance works, but only because of its sheer cheesiness. When nobody is singing it’s at its best. Perhaps I should cut out the songs and see how much better the film is then?
Paragraph with specific criticism of some of the major songs (you may want to skip this…). Isn’t it Romantic? lists all sorts of things, many of which are not at all romantic, particularly in the extension where various people are singing it while also singing about forgetting canes or getting a taxi fare. I suppose it’s supposed to be funny, but it isn’t and the song is annoying and uninspired. Much worse is The Son of a Gun Is Nothing But a Tailor, which is too dull for words. Mimi starts out quite funnily (shoe and buttons lines) but then suffers from the same flaws as the others, including some very incongruous uses of American expressions in “France” (“Am I the guy?”, “sunny little honey”). This is an American film, of course, but these lines still don’t work. At least when the song is sung for the first time it’s amusing enough to watch Jeanette MacDonald’s reactions to each line.
A little about the film? Maurice Chevalier is a Parisian tailor. He’s trying to get on his feet so when that day comes where he meets the woman of his dreams he won’t have any cause for pause. Unfortunately for him he’s just after completing an order for a nobleman who never pays, so he decides to call on him to collect. This is where he meets the woman he needs. She’s a stuck-up princess (Jeanette MacDonald), who’s too noble for practically every man in the country, let alone a lowly tailor. The two leads are charming enough but the stand-out here is Myrna Loy as the man-crazy Countess Valentine. She’ll go far.
If you can bear the songs, Love Me Tonight is full of silly, light-hearted humour. It might not always work but it keeps trying. Its cheesiness can work in its favour, too. I did find it entertaining between the songs but this is far from a great film. I wouldn’t even call it a good one… or a bad one, either. Perhaps it could be described as dated but I feel truly excellent entertainment does not expire. Feels a bit harsh saying all these things about such a goofy, carefree film – like taking out a disabled puppy and shooting it. Bang, bang!