Tony Mastroianni Review Collection

"Guide" Misleads the Married Man

Cleveland Press August 9, 1967

"A Guide for the Married Man" offers the dubious premise that adultery is okay so long as you can get away with it, then proceeds to prove that you can't.

As in so many of Hollywood's attempts at sex comedies everyone talks about it but nobody really does anything.

What they do instead is to leer and snigger all over the place. Director Gene Kelly and writer Frank Tarloff have dusted off and polished a series of locker room jokes about men who are caught philandering, cast them with famous faces and photographed them opulently.

FRAMEWORK FOR THESE BITS is a thin story line in which a husband (Walter Matthau), married for 12 years, has developed a wandering eye but doesn't quite know what to do about it.

Best friend Robert Morse, a philanderer from away back, offers instructions. Lessons include such topics as getting away from home, finding the place, covering up the fragrance of perfume and coping with other minor but would-be disastrous problems.

Each of the lessons is illustrated with a brief story acted out by the movies' guest stars.

AMONG THE BEST OF THESE is one in which Carl Reiner as a major movie star sets up a rendezvous with a nubile starlet. They fly off in opposite directions to make their way by plane, ship, bus, rickshaw and skis to meet in a chalet in the Alps just as the actor's wife breaks in.

In another Art Carney demonstrates how to start a fight with his wife, Lucille Ball, in order to get away from home without arousing suspicion.

OTHERS ARE LESS DEFT, are not so much witty as they are leering in their attempt to provoke a belly laugh.

Matthau has been more effective in other roles. Morse is almost convincing in his dry approach to his role. Inger Stevens, as Matthau's wife, throws the monkey wrench of improbability into the proceedings.

She is so beautiful and so much the perfect wife that any husband who would ignore her as does Matthau must be myopic, dead or in need of psychoanalysis.