Topper Takes a Trip (1938)

“Topper’s too nice a fella to be in trouble… I’m going to get him out!”

Synopsis:
When Mrs. Topper (Billie Burke) catches her husband (Roland Young) with the ghost of Marion Kerby (Constance Bennett), she flees to France to obtain a quick divorce; meanwhile, her conniving friend (Verree Teasdale) arranges for a faux baron (Alexander D’Arcy) to woo and marry Burke for her money, and Marion does what she can to help Topper (Young) win his wife back.

Genres:

Review:
This sequel (the first of two) to the enormously successful comedic fantasy Topper (1937) is tiresome on every level. The storyline is weak and utterly predictable; the characters are — without exception — annoying cliches; and none of the cast members (either principals or extras) react to the proceedings in a remotely realistic fashion. Roy Seawright’s Oscar-nominated ghostly “photographic effects” (which made the original Topper such a delight for audiences at the time) quickly become boring: one can only watch so many items drifting through the air on invisible wires before the “joke” becomes stale; and while Young’s slapsticky pratfalls were amusing in the first film, they’re overused for laughs here. As usual, Burke’s bubble-headed socialite (“Too bad the people in America aren’t French”) is insufferable, and reliable character actors Franklin Pangborn (with a bad French accent) and Alan Mowbray are simply wasted. Topper Takes a Trip is, unfortunately, “comedy” at its low-brow worst, and certainly not must-see viewing.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
Nothing.

Must See?
Definitely not. While I can excuse Peary for listing the original Topper in his book as must-see viewing, his inclusion of both its sequels truly baffles me.

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