Kiss Me, Stupid (re-release) Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 6 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 5 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: A re-release of Billy Wilder's 1964 comedy set in Climax, Nevada.

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 6
  2. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Hollywood censors made Wilder reshoot one scene, but the original version has been rediscovered; while it's tame by today's standards, it makes the movie's caustic social commentary more potent than ever.
  2. Its idiomatic wordplay and social satire is vintage Wilder, and the opening sequence where Dino performs in a nightclub is one of the funniest things that Wilder has ever done.
  3. Cinephiles and Billy Wilder fans get a rare opportunity to see the "slightly dirtier" European ending to the director's 1964 sex farce.
  4. 60
    A grimly suggestive and unexpectedly tender bedroom farce, Billy Wilder's Kiss Me, Stupid is a true film maudit.
  5. 50
    It just doesn¹t get very good until halfway through, in large part because the usually excellent Walston is miscast.
  6. 40
    Wilder, usually a director of considerable flair and inventiveness (if not always impeccable taste), has not been able this time out to rise above a basically vulgar, as well as creatively delinquent, screenplay, and he has got at best only plodding help from two of his principals, Dean Martin and Kim Novak.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 1 out of 4
  1. Jul 27, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Kiss Me, Stupid was initially released in 1964, and I only saw it for the first time now, in 2011. For me, it was a revelation and must rank among Billy Wilder's best films. It is another of his fine, sardonic, dark comedies that cause significant discomfort while, at the same time, remaining, at core, sweetly romantic and often hilarious. In these qualities, it compares favorably with other Wilder masterpieces that skate along the edge, such as The Apartment, Love in the Afternoon and Sabrina. Dean Martin does a terrific job of satirizing himself as Dino, the skirt-chasing alcoholic, who gets stuck overnight in the small town of Climax, Nevada. Ray Walston, the ostensible hero of the piece, plays Orville, the town's piano teacher, who is insanely jealous of the comings and goings of his beautiful, young wife. However, when Dino shows up in town out of the blue, Orville is persuaded by his scheming songwriting partner, Barney the gas station attendant, to undermine everything that is really meaningful to himself (i.e., his relationship with his wife) in the interest of trying to sell Dino their amateur pop songs. Good comedy often pokes fun at human foibles, but Wilder is almost unique in allowing his comedies to veer so closely to the tragic while remaining essentially buoyant. In many of Wilder's best films, there is something distasteful about the male lead; recall, for example, the Bill Holden characters in Stalag 17 and in Sunset Boulevard, the Jack Lemmon character in the Apartment and even the Tom Ewell character in The Seven Year Itch. Walston's Orville fits right in with this exalted group of unlikable protagonists. Also, like many other Wilder masterpieces, Kiss Me, Stupid, revels in the moral ambiguities of human relationships and in the hypocrisies and foolishness of humankind. Although the film was condemned as immoral by the religious establishment in 1964, it is really a quite serious meditation on what today we would call "situational ethics," and, in the end, it affirms the healing power of love. Expand
  2. Joseph
    Feb 4, 2009
    Billy Wilder's most underrated. He may have not liked it but I certainly did.
  3. SteveO.
    Nov 17, 2007
    Wilder and Diamond's sour and heavy-handed misanthropy turn what's meant to be a delightful sex farce, a la Lubitsch, into one of Wilder and Diamond's sour and heavy-handed misanthropy turn what's meant to be a delightful sex farce, a la Lubitsch, into one of the great director's worst misfires. Crass rather than witty, smutty rather than sexy, mean-spirited rather than satirical, KISS ME STUPID fails on almost every level. Walston tries, but can't make the hero anything but irritating and repellent. The women's roles are thankless and degrading. Wilder is said to have posted a sign over his desk: "What would Lubitsch do?" Well, he certainly wouldn't have done THIS. Lubitsch's brilliant sex comedies were always warm and affectionate, even at their most trenchant. He loved his adulterers and cuckolds and made us love them too. Wilder and Diamond seem to hate every character in this story; the film oozes contempt. Don't let anyone fool you into thinking this is a neglected masterpiece. I've read in later years Wilder disowned this misogynistic misstep -- he was right to do so. Expand

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