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Genres: Comedy
Actors: Bruce Dern , Barbara Feldon , Michael Kidd , Geoffrey Lewis , Eric Shea , Nicholas Pryor , Titos Vandis , Paul Benedict , William Traylor , Dennis Dugan , Dick McGarvin , Adam Reed , Kate Sarchet , Brad Thompson , George Wyner
Director: Michael Ritchie
Country: United States
Year: 1975
IMDB Rating: 7.1/10 (1213 votes)

It’s time again for California’s “Young American Miss” beauty pageant, the biggest event of the year for Big Bob Freelander and Brenda DiCarlo, who give their all to put on a successful pageant. But Brenda is having marital difficulties and Bob’s son is up to some mischief. Could this year’s pageant be in jeopardy?

Film Review

As with all the great episodic ensemble films (If…, Fame, Nashville, M*A*S*H)it’s the little touches that makes this film quite so deliriously wonderful e.g.: The wide-eyed girl’s nervousness of the orchestra; the cop’s recapture of Little Bob’s two accomplices; Maria’s expression as the winners of the pageant are being announced; "…and that girl had a wooden foot"; and so on.All of the cast are uniformly excellent, not one of them, major or minor, misses a beat. This is one film that invites repeated viewings, until it almost feels like an old friend. I think that we should start a campaign to get this film the recognition it deserves.

Extremely smart little satire that uses a state beauty pageant as a microcosm for a stinging look at American values, with hypocrisy rampant and greed triumphant. Writer Jerry Belson delineates his characters very carefully, so that we know whom to side with and whom to despise, and the nearly no-name cast portrays them brilliantly. Talented Joan Prather is the contestant we most identify with, decent, but slowly being corrupted as the urge to win overtakes her, and Michael Kidd is the semi-big-time choreographer who at first seems callous and unlikable but turns out to be merely seeing, and telling, it like it is. There's some too-easy comedy as we view the contestants' terrible talent competition entries, but at the end we've seen a remarkably thorough put-down of American values circa 1975. (Maybe it didn't get more attention because its utter honesty and accuracy about the American way of winning, a pet theme of the director's, made people uncomfortable.) The f…

High school girls from California cities, of varying degrees of talent and inner beauty, gather in Santa Rosa for the Miss Young American pageant. Jerry Belson's darkly comic, absurdist screenplay surprisingly doesn't take aim at beauty contests so much as skewering small town American pseudo-values, with a collection of contestants prodded into the spirit of winning by their enthusiastic handlers. Several very funny vignettes–particularly when involving the winking, clueless musical director–though the backstage comedic-drama involving Bruce Dern's car-dealer judge and pageant coordinator Barbara Feldon's faltering marriage fail to spark. Some of the humor is sharp while other jokes verge on mean-spirited, yet director Michael Ritchie cools the meanness out with his editing, darting around and picking up small bits of content on the fly. It makes for a well-rounded send-up of American idealism, with just a touch of cynical eye-rolling, and several of the girls a…

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