Marriage on the Rocks (1965)
“Any Number Can Play!”
Director: Jack Donohue
Cast: Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, Dean Martin
Synopsis: An Ad agency executive travels to Mexico to celebrate his nineteenth wedding anniversary, but mistakenly ends up getting divorced instead…
The light comedy Marriage on the Rocks was to be Frank Sinatra (The Devil at Four O’Clock, Assault on a Queen) and Dean Martin’s last big screen appearance together for nearly twenty years, and it’s a shame that it turns out to be such a disappointment after a promising start. The duo plays unlikely business partners at an advertising agency. Sinatra’s character is married to Deborah Kerr (The Grass is Greener), while Martin plays to type as a womanising playboy. Through a series of contrived incidents that take forever to set up, playboy Dino ends up accidentally married to Kerr, freeing Sinatra to enjoy bachelor life with a friend of his daughter’s (played by his real-life daughter, Nancy).
There are a couple of funny moments in this movie, largely at the expense of Martin and Sinatra, which leads you to believe that you’re in for a treat, but when the scene shifts to Mexico things just get progressively sillier until the rushed and largely inconclusive ending, in which the fate of only two of the characters is spelled out.
Kerr is an interesting casting decision as the hapless wife, although she acquits herself well. She and Sinatra never really convince as a couple, though. In fact, Sinatra doesn’t convince at all — he’s simply going through the motions here, which he did a lot in his films from the mid-sixties onwards. Martin, however, steals the film in his tailor-made role, and looks like he’s having a lot of fun in that fantasy bachelor pad as he works his way through a succession of ‘secretaries’ including the quite frankly spectacular Lola (Joi Lansing — Singin’ in the Rain, Touch of Evil). All the laughs are in the first half-hour in this one, so if you feel like switching off after that you won’t be missing much.
(Reviewed 3rd October 2005)