How to Commit Marriage (1969) Poster

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Some Funny One Liners but overall Dullsville!
Hoohawnaynay5 February 2004
Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason do spew a few really funny one liners, but the movie has the look and feel of a TV sitcom. Jane Wyman wears the same hairstyle here that she has had since the early 50's and I think she is still wearing it the same way! This movie is harmless fluff, but it is fun to watch Bob & Jackie insult each other. Many famous faces in this movie, Tina Louise, Tim Matheson, Joanna Cameron who later went on to the Saturday morning kids show "Shazaam & Isis". Maureen Arthur is quite funny as a big breasted client of Bob. After Jane gives her the once over staring at her cleavage, Maureen gets off the barb, "Well, it's nothing you couldn't buy"! Many fat jokes at Jackie's expense. Too bad the whole movie couldn't have been as funny as some of the jokes. Still, not as hard to watch as all the garbage they pass off as entertainment today! (Friends, Survivor, etc)
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Starring Bob "How D'Ya Like My Nehru Jacket?" Hope & Jackie "To the moon in the 7th house, Alice!" Gleason
ajm-86 November 2005
In the intended generation gap comedy, Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason play bickering not-quite-in-laws. I say "not-quite" because Gleason's son and Hope's daughter are cohabiting without benefit of matrimony.

Living in sin.

Shacking up, don't you know.

The kids have a baby out of wedlock and put it up for adoption so they can concentrate on performing in their Top Ten psychedelic rock group, The Comfortable Chair (Cue Cardinal Fang: "The COMFY CHAIR!?!") Hope and estranged wife Jane Wyman (whose real-life ex-husband was governor of California when this film was made) adopt the tot using fake identities and, after a round of 3 a.m. feedings, grudgingly reconcile.

Jackie discovers that Hope & Wyman have the grandchild, revealing the info during a golf match between Hope and a chimp. (You're ahead of me. Bob loses.) But Ol' Ski Nose solves everything by impersonating the youngsters' guru, a Maharishi-like religious leader, at a huge concert. In disguise, Bob tells the kids to forget nirvana and perfect happiness and get married instead. By the time everyone figures out who's who, the rock stars have their baby AND wedding rings, Bob and Jane are back together and the new house Bob just sold Jackie gets destroyed in a mudslide.

Even for a wacky 1960s comedy, the events in this movie defy logic: What adoption agency would instantly hand over a newborn to a decidedly over-the-hill couple? Wouldn't Hope and Wyman face prison sentences for using phony names to get the baby? And how could Jackie Gleason attract Tina "I Trained at the Actors Studio, But They're Going to Put 'She was Ginger on Gilligan's Island' On My Tombstone" Louise?

Hope's probably the LAST guy in Hollywood to have been defending monogamy, given his notorious unfaithfulness to wife Dolores over a seven-decade marriage, and it's doubly offensive that he spoofed an Eastern religious figure to do so. Imagine the justifiable outcry had he impersonated a priest or a rabbi.

Gleason's in decent form but is given little to do. HOW TO COMMIT MARRIAGE isn't as utterly bizarre as another Gleason '60s vehicle, SKIDOO (1968), but simply one of Hope's worst starring films -- a pity, because for around 25 years Hope WAS a legitimately great movie comedian. At least it's interesting to see Leslie Nielsen play the straight man in this film, and the young lovers are JoAnna Cameron (who set the hearts of seven-year-old boys aflutter as ISIS in the 1970s) and Tim Matheson (who, FIFTEEN years after this movie, would still be playing a collegian in UP THE CREEK).
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How to commit comedy.
Psalm5227 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Recently watched this film twice over three days. It grew on me. Gleason gives a hilarious performance worthy of an Oscar nomination as Oliver Poe. Poe is a cutting-edge record industry producer who takes no bullshit and comically wrecks the establishment mindset of his almost in-laws (Hope & Wyman). Poe is finally brought back to Earth in the end by his loving and patient mistress (Louise) who delivers one of the best lines (para-phrasing) "I told Oliver if he doesn't give in this Queen isn't sleeping in his King." It's a funny movie w/ plenty of good performances (Arthur, Corey, & Matheson) and in a much undeveloped brief cameo Nielson (a decade before Airplane, Police Squad). Another undeveloped role is that of the Benson's young daughter (Cameron) and the script should have focused more on her relationship with the father of her child and how her pregnancy wasn't communicated to her parents (Hope & Wyman). Instead it uses them as plot devices so her parents adopt their grandchild… just watch it yourself. This movie is harmless fluff and it is fun to watch Gleason & Hope insult each other.
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Bob Hope in a toupee and Nehru jacket: "Nice try."
moonspinner5529 June 2016
Amusingly salty farce brings Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason into the swinging 1960s--and just in time! Hope and Jane Wyman agree to end their stale marriage after 19 years, just as their daughter decides to drop out of college and join a rock group with her boyfriend. Turns out she's also pregnant, and has been persuaded to put her baby up for adoption by a (bribed) Indian guru, so Hope and Wyman conspire to adopt the child under the guise of an Irish couple (don't ask). Gleason is Hope's would-be in-law, a rock music promoter who holds a grudge against Bob for a years-old real estate transaction that ended up in the mud. Tatty-looking comedy (with unflattering hairstyles) stays afloat on some funny one-liners, but loses momentum during two pointless sequences: a golf match involving a chimpanzee and the slapstick finale, an endless dig at the Maharishi. Despite this, Hope, Gleason and Wyman (and Tina Louise as Gleason's main squeeze) manage bright performances, and director Norman Panama excels with a romantic fantasy scene and also the opening montage, a cynical jab at married life. **1/2 from ****
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While initially funny, How to Commit Marriage eventually becomes lame
tavm10 September 2013
Well, one of my curiosities was settled when I watched this movie starring for the only time Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, and Jane Wyman together. This one turned out to be Ms. Wyman's last theatrical feature and Hope's penultimate one as leading man. Hope has some pretty funny lines in the beginning and has some good rapport with Ms. Wyman up to the scene when they both dress in the '60s fashion style at a club their daughter (JoAnna Cameron) performs in with her partner Tim Matheson who's the son of Gleason here. Gleason himself also seems pretty funny when performing with Hope in trading insults but after a while, the plot goes in nonsense places like having a monkey play golf with Hope that really gets lame. And don't get me started with Professor Irwin Corey as an Indian-style wise man who Hope later imitates. I did like Hope when he faked a stereotypical Scottish man in another plot point though I don't feel like wasting time recounting that one here. There's also a mixture of film styles like the undercranking of some scenes and the split screen usually presented in these '60s movies that didn't work comically. Still, it was interesting enough for me to see other players like Tina Louise, formerly of "Gilligan's Island", and Matheson-years from his iconic teaming with John Belushi in Animal House, not to mention Leslie Nielson way before his legendary teaming with Zucker, Abrahams, Zucker for Airplane! and the "Police Squad" TV shows/Naked Gun movies. So on that note, How to Commit Marriage is worth a look for those curious of all of the above.
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is that band anybody?
mmckie-218 August 2000
Wow, when you see how Hollywood portrays the social revolution in the sixties, you can see why people had to rebell!!! The writing is definitely in the tone of the grown-ups making fun of the band names during the sixties.

It was surprising to see Tim Matheson in this movie. Also Tina Louise of Gilligan's Island fame. Leslie Nielsen is another one who is still popular.

But who is that sensitive sixties band with the dreamy sound and the groovy philosophy? They're called "The Comfortable Chair" in the movie, but embarrassing as it is to admit, they sound like a real band from the time. Someone like "Small Faces", or whatever their name was.
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The Chimp Makes Them Look Like Chumps
bkoganbing5 May 2006
The daughter of Bob Hope and Jane Wyman and the son of Jackie Gleason are in love and ready to wed. What they don't know is Hope and Wyman are considering divorce. Gleason has some rather negative view on marriage in the first place. They find out and it shatters some illusions.

Since it's the Sixties, what to do but go live together. Of course with a blessed event arriving that does complicate things.

Now the young folks, Tim Matheson and JoAnna Cameron are presented as fairly intelligent people. So why anyone would listen to religious faker Irwin Corey and give the kid up for adoption is beyond me. But that's what the film asks you to believe.

Two of the funniest men of the last century were Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason. So why they got stuck with a mediocre story idea like this is beyond me. I can't believe that the two of them had they looked could have found a better story idea.

When a golf playing Marquis Chimp steals the film you know you've got trouble.
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JasparLamarCrabb20 January 2006
Warning: Spoilers
An awful movie. Another Z-grade comedy starring Bob Hope. This time, Hope is joined by Jackie Gleason and Jane Wyman, but even their combined talents aren't enough to raise this dud above the level of a sitcom...a bad sitcom. Hope and wife Wyman plan to divorce, but decide to stay together when they find out their daughter plans on marrying Gleason's son. Hope is insufferable and Wyman has little to do. Gleason, as a rock-n-roll record producer, does seem to be having a good time and he clearly has some fun with sexy co-star Tina Louise. Beyond that, HOW TO COMMIT MARRIAGE has little to offer. The supporting cast includes future National Lampooner Tim Matheson, who plays Gleason's son, stuffy Leslie Neilsen, and "Professor" Irwin Corey --- it's hard to believe people really thought HE was funny!
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How to Committ Marriage
Coxer997 June 1999
Comic giants Hope and Gleason try to breathe life into this comedy about a couple (Hope and Wyman) who plan on getting a divorce, but then change plans when they learn that their daughter is getting married. Gleason plays the father in law to be; an obnoxious rock and roll producer. There are some funny one liners but altogether the poor script drags them and the rest of the cast down. Tim Matheson co-stars.
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Hope's Hippie A - Go - Go
brucecorneil-593-67782220 August 2017
America's favorite comedian gets all caught up in the Age of Aquarius when his free-thinking daughter drops out of college to join a rock group and search for spiritual enlightenment under the guidance of a bumbling Persian mystic. But there's a twist to the usual generation gap scenario. Bob's wayward kid wants to do the "establishment thing" by tying the knot with her composer boyfriend while her parents have (secretly) decided to call it a day on the marital front.

Hope's shot at impersonating the aforementioned guru, complete with flowing robes, turban, fake beard and a drooping orchid which he uses to "bless" his "disciples" provides plenty of chuckles. Another change of costume sees him decked out in a Nehru jacket and sporting a groovy hairstyle as he takes a "space trip" to some pot-filled Go- Go joint down on Sunset.

Although a few of the gags fall flat others work just fine as Bob and Jackie Gleason team up to add some real sparkle to the film's better moments.

Hope to the perpetually loaded Gleason: "And about your breath... you could start the windmill on an old Dutch painting".

Bob had just about lost interest in the big screen by this late stage, having decided to concentrate on his top rating TV shows instead. This was, in fact, his second last theatrical release. And , although it won't be remembered as being one of his best, it's actually a pretty sharp satire of some of the more nonsensical, new age clap trap what was permeating western culture at the time. Even the Beatles quickly realized that they were being taken on a one way elephant ride to fantasy land by their own giggling guru.

As for this one, it's a low key walk - thru which doesn't demand much of its stars but it still generates enough laughs along the way to keep it going.

Not outstanding but fun
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"I can feel the love bouncing off the walls".
classicsoncall29 August 2009
Warning: Spoilers
You would think with Hope and Gleason in the same picture that it would be a riot Alice, but sadly not so. Not as bad as the failed team-up of Don Rickles, Buddy Hackett and Morey Amsterdam in 1969's "Muscle Beach Party", but almost. Honestly, you would think that both comedians should have known better. As adversaries in the story, their put downs of each other were very weak, and the picture was already on a down hill slope when Mildred the Chimp joined the action on a golf course. Besides that, there were a number of times while watching the flick that I thought I missed something, as scenes followed one another without a connecting thread. I know I didn't doze off because the clock on the DVD player never hinted at a time lapse I couldn't account for.

On top of all that, you had Professor Irwin Corey in the role of a mystic prophet named Baba Zia, who's gimmick consisted of a 'Peace Through Protein' schtick that made no sense at all. Somehow he convinced the Benson's daughter (JoAnna Cameron) and her fiancée (Tim Matheson) to give up their baby to adoption for a cause I can't even begin to comprehend. In fact, the picture offered so many instances of anti-family values (divorce, shacking up, chimpanzee golf), that I couldn't believe it was a Bob Hope vehicle. Gleason with the booze was about the only thing that made any sense.

Maybe I'm being too harsh on the film, other viewer comments seem to have found some entertainment value in it. For me though, this was un-funny and a bore to sit through, but that's the promise I made to myself when I started doing these reviews - see it complete from start to finish. This one had me thinking about revising the rules.
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Tasteless and unfunny....
MartinHafer28 April 2017
You know you've found a terrible movie where the best actor is a chimp!! Sadly, the chimp is only a bit player! Yes, "How to Commit Marriage" is an incredibly unfunny and offensive pile of bile from the hip, wacky 1960s. Jackie Gleason and Bob Hope is an odd combination but with this much talent, you'd assume the film would be funny. Well, you'd assume wrong!

When the film begins, Bob Hope and Jane Wyman are a couple who decide, out of the blue, to get divorced. Soon, their daughter arrives and announces she wants to marry a nice guy. Because of this, the parents decide NOT to tell her about the pending divorce. As for his father (Jackie Gleason), he is a crass jerk who believes in two and himself. He is a completely amoral jerk who tries to convince the couple to just live together. They agree...and when she gets pregnant, he then convinces them to give up the baby because 'babies are a drag'...and they do! Her parents, though divorced, swoop in to take their grandchild. There's more...but by this point the film REALLY lost my interest.

The bottom line is that instead of making the film funny, THE joke is that the parents all decide to become hip....hip and VERY selfish. While I am NOT an old fashioned guy, the film seems to be a great endorsement of family and traditional values...mostly because everyone in this film is so hateful and nasty...especially Gleason's character. Perhaps a reworking of this MIGHT have worked, but with one actor well into his 60s and the other two in their 50s, it all comes off as amazingly contrived and ridiculous (you just have to see Hope in his Nehru jacket!). The script, actors and filmmakers all try way too hard to be clever and with it...but completely forgot to be funny. It's among the very worst films Gleason, Hope and Wyman have made...perhaps THE worst.
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One Really REALLY Funny Part
Squonkamatic25 November 2008
I am not sure how I ended up witnessing this movie, most of it wasn't memorable, some drivel about Bob Hope wanting to get a divorce from Jane Wyman while at the same time imparting a conservative family-values mindset on his son (or was it his daughter?) who was betrothed to Jackie Gleason's daughter (or was it his son?). There's some sort of nonsense about a traveling psychedelic swami show coming to town and Hope impersonating the swami to try and lecture his young son on the importance of a proper marriage ... odd movie.

The centerpiece of the film is howlingly funny, however, as Jackie Gleason suckers Bob Hope into playing a game of golf against Mildred the Chimp for a wager. It's a sucker bet too, and Gleason doesn't even have to rig the game: Gladys humiliates Hope with a display of golf prowess that would have made Jack Nicklaus blush. For some reason I found it hyperventilatingly funny, having trouble breathing as Hope & Gleason decked out in polyester golf outfits find themselves upstaged by a monkey. Only in America.
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Tune In, Tune Out, Doze Off
bigverybadtom3 July 2017
Warning: Spoilers
Another movie that incorporates a large cast of famous major stars and it is still terrible. This is supposed to be a comedy, but it is mind-numbingly dull, and we don't even know what the point of it all is.

Bob Hope and Jane Wyman play a long-married couple who get in each others' way, and they mutually agree to a divorce without complications. But trouble comes when their daughter visits them with a man she wishes to marry-and the parents hide their divorce from them. On top of that, the man is a son of a highly cynical, selfish record producer (a miscast Jackie Gleason) who does not believe in marriage and wants his son not to marry, but travel with a hippie band, despite the son's interest in classical music.

This had the makings of a screwball comedy, but the laughs aren't there, and everyone seems in a hurry to get things over with. No surprise; the whole movie feels unpleasant rather than amusing.
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What a Waste
Sargebri2 October 2003
When you see the names Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason, you pretty much expect and instant classic. Well this film was just the opposite, an instant dud. This film was obviously somebody's idea of trying to poke fun at the hippie culture of the 1960's and the whole idea of free love. Unfortunately, by the time this film was made, everything was out of date, even the music and the fashions. You could pretty much tell by this film that Bob Hope's film career was pretty much at an end and that he was ready to concentrate on television. Also, Jane Wyman is pretty much a waste in this film as well as Tim Matheson (its hard to believe he would survive this film and make one of the great comedies of the 70's, Animal House). Also, you pretty much can tell that everyone was just in it for a paycheck. This is one film that definitely hasn't aged well.

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Generation Gap Garbage
wes-connors24 June 2009
Wise-cracking Bob Hope (as Frank Benson) tries to fondle Jane Wyman (as Elaine) in bed, but finds himself groping her poodle, instead. The two have an unhappy marriage, with Ms. Wyman finding golf balls in her shoes and Mr. Hope finds bras on his towel rack. He also steps on hair curlers, and she finds cigarette butts in her cups. After spraying Hope's shaving cream on her wig, Wyman asks for a divorce. Hope takes up with busty Maureen Arthur (as Lois Grey), while Wyman goes for younger Leslie Nielson (as Phil Fletcher).

Meanwhile, their daughter, pretty JoAnna Cameron (as Nancy) announces she is marrying handsome Tim Matheson (as David). His father is boozy psychedelic pop group promoter Jackie Gleason (as Oliver Poe), who dates bathtub model Tina Louise (as Laverne Baker). When the youngsters learn about the oldsters divorce plans, they decide to "shack up", instead of marrying. Later, Hope and Wyman decide to adopt their bastard grandbaby. What a drag, man. "The Comfortable Chair" music and "Mildred the Chimp" earn stars.

** How to Commit Marriage (7/7/69) Norman Panama ~ Bob Hope, Jane Wyman, Jackie Gleason
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