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PEACH-O-RENO (1931) **

Director William A. Seiter teamed up yet again with the comedy duo of Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey for this flick.  It’s not nearly as good as their previous outing; Caught Plastered and is one of their weaker efforts.  On the plus side, it’s only an hour long and moves at a quick enough pace.

 

Wheeler and Woolsey star as two business owners in Reno, Nevada.  By day, their establishment hands out divorces like McDonald’s hands out hamburgers.  By night, they turn their offices into a swanky gambling casino.  Predictably, the town’s divorce lawyers get up in arms about their dubious business practices and try to shut them down.

 

This is the sort of scenario you’d think would be tailor made for the team.  The problem is that the laughs just aren’t there.  Whenever there is a promising set-up, the punchline falls flat.  And on the off chance that the punchline is good, the set-up is too laborious or clunky for it to really work.  The climatic courtroom scene does have a handful of chuckles but it’s too little too late.

 

You can tell that Peach-O-Reno is desperate for laughs because Bert spends a lot of time in drag.  Men in drag aren’t funny on general principle.  If you want a crossdresser to be funny, you have to give him something funny to do.  It’s as if Seiter thought that just having him wear a dress would be enough to get a laugh.  I guess the sight of a dude in a dress made them roll in the aisles back in ’31.  You won’t be so lucky.

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