Sullivan's Travels

Director: Preston Sturges
Year Released: 1942
Rating: 2.5

Lead under the impression it's one of the greatest films of all time, I came into Sullivan's Travels with remarkably high hopes. Despite enjoying the dialogue - which is quick and witty and unparalleled - the story is as facile as its premise (privileged director "acts" like a homeless man to "suffer" and make more meaningful pictures). Its forays into slapstick - Sully's ride with a little boy in a tank, for example - are distracting and unnecessary, its shifting from comedy to seriousness unreasonably awkward (Sully, in turn, gets abused far more than his character deserves) and also contrived (Veronica Lake's "entrance" into the picture in the diner scene). The resolution, set in a black church, with the inmates watching a Mickey Mouse cartoon (and laughing harder than necessary) proves its point but goes over the top. Once again, see The Palm Beach Story instead.