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Overall Rating

Awesome: 27.03%
Worth A Look: 16.22%
Average: 2.7%
Pretty Bad45.95%
Total Crap: 8.11%

2 reviews, 25 user ratings

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Casino Royale (1967)
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by The Ultimate Dancing Machine

"Royale pain"
2 stars

Recently I noted, in connection with JOHNNY ENGLISH, that spy spoofs tend to bear little resemblance to the “straight” spy films they ostensibly poke fun at. It’s become a genre onto itself, with its own conventions and clichés. Movies like AUSTIN POWERS aren’t really takeoffs on Bond; that’s just an excuse for the kind of whimsical “psychedelic” freewheeling that the genre lends itself to so well. This brings us to CASINO ROYALE, one of the earlier (1967) examples of pseudo-spy goofiness, which has little to do with the Ian Fleming novel it so tediously attempts to skewer.

You know you’re in trouble when the credits list five directors and three writers—to say nothing of the seven others who contributed to the script uncredited, among them star Peter Sellers. The only films I can think of that top it are Roger Corman’s The Terror, which had six directors, and The Dungeonmaster, which boasted seven—we all know how well those went. It’s a classic Hollywood example of too many cooks, and no doubt this does much to explain the film’s torpid pace and lack of focus.

CASINO ROYALE just doesn’t go anywhere in particular; the narrative collapses into unrelated set pieces; and I’m not even going to try to summarize the meandering plot. It’s an awfully haphazard way to put a movie together. Unsurprisingly, real laughs come only on occasion. Comedy generally has to run at a certain minimum speed to come out right, and CASINO, clocking in at over two hours, gets bogged down far too often. The film isn’t psychedelic—it’s tranquilized.

Another problem with films like this is that it just isn’t inherently funny to joke on spy flicks. Parody and satire (they’re not the same thing) depend largely on contrast for their effects. You can’t really make fun of something that’s already supposed to be a bit funny to begin with. And the world of James Bond has always been slightly campy, unreal. CASINO ROYALE includes a character named—ha, ha—Miss Goodthighs, but the real Bond hangs out with chicks called Pussy Galore and Xenia Onatopp; you tell me which is funnier. And who would you rather spend two hours in the theatre with?

There are some random pleasures despite the lumbering direction, not the least of which is seeing Joanna Pettet bounce about in an I Dream of Jeannie outfit. Woody Allen also pops up to do his neurotic Jew shtick. He’s reasonably funny in his all too brief turn (it sounds like he wrote his own lines), and you miss him when he disappears from the screen.

But for the most part the film runs on empty. Its excessively jaunty score (by Burt Bacharach—now you know why he’s in AUSTIN POWERS) sounds like it belongs in another movie, a funnier one. Here, it just underscores the film’s general lack of real humor; it’s rather annoying to keep hearing all this perky music when nothing terribly witty is happening.

Really, you’re better off with James Coburn’s FLINT movies. Or even the real Bond flicks, which in many ways beat CASINO ROYALE on its own territory.

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originally posted: 08/18/03 16:00:27
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User Comments

1/23/11 brian Over two hours, under three snickers, and only one star. Four shame. 1 stars
1/02/08 Chris C. Misunderstood psychedelic/surreal cold war spoof with great music. Lighten up, everyone! 4 stars
12/02/07 Screwball Great sets and costumes but not very funny. Funniest scenes are with Woody. 2 stars
8/16/06 Sepi53 its OK ! 3 stars
5/28/05 tony SHITSHITSHIT. just a waste of time. I hope there is a rating below total crap for this one 1 stars
5/11/04 Sean Scanlan Good acting 4 stars
2/07/04 Mikey T A blast from the past - Fun ! 5 stars
10/17/03 Richard Alan Root The movie is a GEM! 4 stars
1/20/03 Andrew Callaway The only funny parts are the parts with Woody. 2 stars
1/15/03 kitfo best costumes and score ever. 4 stars
10/24/02 Charles Tatum I am shaken, not stirred 1 stars
10/24/02 Martin Hernandez an underrated classic 5 stars
9/19/02 Josh Excellent! The funniest Bond film! It's NOT a waste, and NOT a bad movie like everyone says 5 stars
1/12/02 Lg3 I suggest you watch this without thinking about it. Unbeliveable, So bad, its good. Top 5 stars
10/15/01 Andrew Carden Extremly Funny and Well Made Movie. The Best Spoof Of The 60's. 5 stars
9/16/01 BILL BISSELL OUCH 2 stars
8/07/01 Mr. Hat It's a shame. Bad orchestra & an unnecessary goat sacrifice fuck it up 4 good. 2 stars
11/02/00 Robin This film is mind numbing in a good way! 5 stars
9/14/00 Tom McCord It's the original Austin Powers, only a lot more dignified and funny. Niven is the best. 5 stars
5/26/00 Tom CASINO ROYALE was awsom 5 stars
5/01/00 Adam Konta take it for what it is, a bond spoof, and a damn funny one at that 4 stars
4/07/00 Gremlin Great spoof for when it was made. 5 stars
2/18/00 Allan Carin Hilarious from start to finish 4 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan As long as you have a good sense of humor you'll love this movie. The ultimate spoof flick. 5 stars
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  02-Feb-1968 (PG)

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