Sex and the Single Girl (1964) May 4, 2016 02:17
Sex and the Single Girl is the final un-credited role in the early career of Barbara Bouchet and a fitting follow-up to our last Bouchet film Good Neighbor Sam, starring Jack Lemon. Tony Curtis is Bob Weston, managing editor of the tabloid rag STOP magazine. After a successful smear article on psychologist and best selling author of Sex and the Single Girl, Helen Brown (Natalie Wood), Weston plans a follow up article in which he looks to uncover whether or not Miss Brown follows her own advice on relationships.
Weston poses as Frank Broderick (his neighbor played by Henry Fonda) and uses Frank's rocky marriage to Sylvia (Lauren Bacall) as a way to get close to Helen. He goes to Helen for "marriage" counseling but is ultimately planning to woo her over and see if he can get her to fall in love with someone who she believes is a married man. But Weston finds himself beginning to fall in love with Helen and the whole scheme begins to fall apart!
Sex and the Single Girl has a couple minimal similarities to the previous film we looked at, Good Neighbor Sam. Both films feature the main character pretending to be married to someone they're not. In the case of Good Neighbor Sam, Jack Lemon was doing it for fairly unselfish reasons to help out his wife's best friend; in this film's case Tony Curtis is doing it to get some dirt on the woman he plans on smearing in a magazine article. Another interesting tie in is Curtis's character frequently being compared to Jack Lemon in Some Like It Hot, ironically a film Curtis also starred in. In fact there's even a scene where Curtis is dressed in a ladies housecoat while trying to leave an apartment building unseen and a janitor calls him Mr. Lemon.
The film itself is moderately amusing, extremely cheesy and tends to drag and become overly repetitious at times. One example is near the end of the film after the truth comes out and a high speed case breaks out on the freeway between four of the main characters. It's an amusing scene for a while as the characters switch cars and other hi-jinx ensue, but after about five minutes it begins to get a little old, and it continues for another ten to fifteen minutes.
For a campy comedy the acting is decent, Natalie Wood is gorgeous, but her manic/hyper character gets annoying after a while. The real highlight of the film for me was the numerous songs performed by singer Fran Jeffries (who plays Weston's girlfriend of sorts), I had never heard of her before but she has an amazing voice.
As for Barbara Bouchet her appearance is earlier in the film before the main plot gets started. She has a couple brief lines and a little over 30 second appearance as a photographer at the Broderick's anniversary party. Compared to her prior un-credited appearances this is the longest and the largest of them all.
Overall, Sex and the Single Girl isn't anything overly special and I'm sure it wasn't the high point of any of the A-list stars careers, but if you're a fan of Curtis or Wood it's worth a look. On its own merit it's a decent comedy but could have been trimmed down a little.