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A Hilarious Cold-War Period Piece
on September 18, 2001
I read Mr. Maltin's brief review and was astonished that somebody who is in the business of reviewing films could so easily write this movie off. This film is hilarious; it has an innocence that we don't see much anymore. Don Knotts was a comedic genius, I'd without hesitation put him on a par with Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, Jim Carey. He plays the nerdly goofball brilliantly, and we can all see a bit of ourselves in his various awkward moments. This movie skillfully mocks the Cold War tension with it's parody of the Space Race, and there's even a little romance as Don lusts for a beauty who barely acknowledges his existence until she hears that he's going to be an astronaut. The soundtrack is great as well, very happy stuff and it reminds me of the old Sunday night Disney show's music.
My wife and I watched this on Septemeber 15, 2001, four days after September 11, 2001. It was exactly the ticket for helping us to forget for a moment the ugliness of the real world.
I've never been very impressed by Mr. Maltin. He gives terse conclusions which are unsubstantiated by specific references. I'm 41 years old and this movie entertained me like few others. Don Knotts is an undervalued classic; my bet is that after he passes away there will be a big revival for his work.