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CRACKED NUTS (1931) **

The team of Wheeler and Woolsey head into Duck Soup-ish territory with this comedy about a king (Robert Woolsey) in a fictional country.  A revolutionary (Boris Karloff, the same year as Frankenstein) wants to dethrone the king and coerces Bert Wheeler to assassinate him.  Little does Boris know, the two are old friends, so he has to devise another way to get rid of the pesky Woolsey.

 

I mentioned that this flick sorta has a Duck Soup vibe about it in the early going.  However, this flick is no Duck Soup.  The gags just aren’t there and a lot of the film just plain drags.  And the ending is particularly stupid. 

 

The big problem is that Wheeler and Woolsey spend too much time apart for the film to really work.  (Woolsey just isn’t as funny while bouncing insults off of other people.)  In fact, the movie is almost halfway over before they share their first scene together.  But even though the first half is flat and unfunny, the team doesn’t exactly set the world on fire once they finally appear alongside one another.  Part of that is because the script just isn’t up to snuff, but Wheeler and Woolsey’s performances even seem to be lacking inspiration in this one.

 

Heck, not even the presence of Boris Karloff can save Cracked Nuts.  All things considered, this is probably the worst Wheeler and Woolsey comedy I’ve seen.  It’s not terrible mind you, but the laughs are just too sporadic for you to waste your time on it.

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