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  Good Times I Got Me, Babe
Year: 1967
Director: William Friedkin
Stars: Sonny Bono, Cher, George Sanders, Norman Alden, Larry Duran, Kelly Thordsen, Lennie Weinrib, Peter Robbins, Edy Williams, China Lee, Diane Haggerty, James Flavin, Phil Arnold, Hank Worden, Morris Buchanan, Charles Smith, Micky Dolenz, Paul Frees
Genre: Musical, ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Sonny Bono and his wife Cher are a popular singing duo, but could there be more to their fame than making records? How about branching out into the movie industry as well? Sonny has received interest from a powerful media mogul, Mr Mordicus (George Sanders), but Cher is sceptical and doesn't see why they need to make a film together. Therefore when they are summoned to Mordicus' office, only Sonny goes, as much out of curiosity than anything else, and after Mordicus has finished watching his wrestlers, he takes the singer to one side and explains the film is ready to shoot - already!

During the sixties if you did indeed want to star in a film then it was helpful to have your own hit record due to interest from your fans to see what you looked like when you weren't singing and would pay good money to find out. So it was that Sonny and Cher took the leads in a typically lightweight project for musical celebrities of the time, although oddly the script, by ex-actor and TV writer Tony Barrett from Nicholas Hyams' story, was more concerned with artistic integrity than you might have expected, far more than than most of its peers.

The plot is slight, but essentially Sonny signs a contract with Mordicus (Sanders treating his role with all the gravity of his guest appearance on Batman) and spends the rest of the film fretting about making the movie. This leads to both arguments with his missus and daydreams where he thinks up appropriate scenarios for the duo to make their acting talents plain, specifically three: a western, a Tarzan picture and a private eye/gangster tale. It's in these sections that most of the laughs arrive, as despite its reputation Good Times isn't so bad.

In fact, it's quite good fun. It was also the unlikely directorial debut of William Friedkin, the man who went onto helm The French Connection and The Exorcist, and although he seemed to have mixed feelings about it looking back, he was full of praise for Sonny who he regarded as a kind of musical genius. If not quite that spectacular, the sunshine pop songs are pleasant enough in a hippy-dippy Phil Spector manner, although their presentation is unimaginative with too much "heads bobbing from side to side along with the tune" from the two leads.

Although he didn't write this, you might ponder over how much Sonny had to do with the story because it does seem to do him down and have him looking inadequate. It's not until the sentimental denouement that he recovers his self esteem stands up to Mordicus yet until then he's a doormat, walked over by Cher and the mogul in equal measure. In the western segment, he even ends up shot dead by the villains as he scrabbles in the dust for his bullets, although Cher is killed in the private detective segment but turns up later on as a different character. Fortunately, Sonny learns to listen to his other half for a quiet life and there is a misty-eyed happy ending (or is it a glazed-eyed one?). Good Times isn't the best pop star movie of the decade, but it was amusing enough and did feature talking chimpanzees playing cards: comedy gold.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

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William Friedkin  (1935 - )

American writer/director who has struggled throughout his career to escape the legacy of two of his earliest films. Debuted in 1967 with the Sonny & Cher flick Good Times, but it was the gripping French Connection (1971) and phenomenonally popular The Exorcist (1973) that made Friedkin's name and influenced a whole decade of police and horror films. Since then, some of Friedkin's films have been pretty good (Sorcerer, the controversial Cruising, To Live and Die in L.A., Blue Chips, Bug, Killer Joe), but many more (The Guardian, Jade, Rules of Engagement) have shown little of the director's undoubtable talent.

 
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