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Time Out says

Spielberg's extravagant folie de grandeur, a madcap comedy recreation of an allegedly true story, with Hollywood suffering from mass panic when it's thought that a Japanese submarine is about to lead an invasion force into California. The period sets are wonderful, the cast full of bright talent, and Spielberg's expertly choreographed slapstick is wondrous to behold. There is a problem, however, in that it isn't actually very funny: one feels that Spielberg was concentrating his powers so much on the mechanics of timing, cause and effect, that he forgot that what makes the best comedies funny is human reaction. Here the characters are too cartoon-like ever to win our attention (though Stack's military bigwig obsessed with Disney's Dumbo is the touching exception who proves the rule).

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