Ealing in its heyday might have coaxed some mild satire out of the idea of a small town prepared to go to any lengths to ensure that it is not bypassed by a new freeway. Officials swallow bribes but fail to deliver, the townsfolk resort to terrorist tactics, hordes of grotesques converge on the town bringing the tourist money all the ghoulish greed is about. The material is there, but in Schlesinger's hands the whole thing is battered into a shapeless, witless mess as a barrage of slapstick gags, each more crudely conceived and badly timed than the last, leaves one numb with disbelief. Even Abbott and Costello were funnier.
You may also like