We need more directors willing to take risks with films like Get Out.
Peter Bogdanovich's "What's Up, Doc?" is billed as a wacky screwball comedy with absolutely no redeeming social importance, and I guess that's the most accurate billing so far this year.
It has to do with four guests who check into a hotel on the same day, with identical red plaid overnight bags. The first bag contains diamonds, the second underwear, the third prehistoric rocks, and the fourth top-secret papers.
Are we on familiar ground? The bag with the underwear belongs to Barbra Streisand a freeloader without a penny to her name, who is hiding out in the hotel and swindling room service out of roast beef sandwiches. She falls instantly in love with Ryan O'Neal, who has brought the prehistoric rocks to demonstrate a theory at a musicologist's convention. The jewels belong to a Margaret Dumont type, whose name shoulda been Mrs. Gotrocks if it actually wasn't. And the state secrets are being tracked by an international spy who believes no one will notice him if he carries his golf clubs everywhere.
Bogdanovich, a former critic who has spent the last 10 to 15 years absorbing the films of the great Hollywood masters of the 1930s, proves himself a master of screwball comedy -- a genre which, until just now, everybody thought was dead. "What's Up, Doc?" is a homage of sorts to Howard Hawks, but Bogdanovich isn't an imitator so much as an admirer with ideas of his own.