Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Reluctant Astronaut (1967)

Frightfully fearful Don Knotts is Roy Fleming, an astronaut wanna-be who operates the space ride at a fairground. Dad Fleming signs up boy Roy for the space program, but when he gets there he learns he will be a janitor. So as to not disappoint ol' Dad, Roy pretends.

Events, as they typically do, converge such that NASA is forced to send Janitor Roy into space. Insert sequences of Knotts being frightened and foolish. Leslie Nielsen has a supporting role.

I remember this film when I was young, and I remember enjoying it. I watched it with my boys and they were bored. This film was a capitalization on the popularity of the space program and a vehicle for the surprisingly popular Don Knotts. Sad to say, Knotts' humor does not hold up. My middle boy saw The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964) and was amused, at least a little. All three walked out on it and I don't blame them one bit.

One awkward point was Knotts' pining for cold fish hottie Ellie Jackson (Joan Freeman). Don was 42 when the film came out and looked more like 52. Joan was 25. Eww.

IMDb voters are too kind on this film. Reluctant Astronaut is a dud. AMRU 2.5.