My main problem with Marx Brothers films, with the exception of Duck Soup, is that they are not Duck Soup. When it comes to film comedy, that movie pretty much sets the bar for me. I’m not sure why Duck Soup works – it feels like it shouldn’t – but it does. Maybe it’s just one of those “lightning in a bottle” things. Consequently, Horse Feathers isn’t everything I might hope for, but fortunately, it’s pretty darn close.
This is a good movie for college students to see. It offers some catharsis in this crazy phase of life to think that maybe the reason why everyone at your university hates the administration is that the president is a bozo like Groucho. With as many comedy films have taken on academia, it still hasn’t gotten as much spoofing as it deserves, so it’s nice to see the Marx Brothers take on the subject. It’s also not one of those Marx Brothers films that tries to shove a serious romantic plot into the film alongside the Marx antics, so it’s light on the boring scenes. It’s one of those films that I’d like to have on in the background at parties – it’s something fun that I could watch over and over again, but I don’t feel like I lose much if I don’t pay attention to the plot. It’s more about the lunacy of the characters and the highly hilarious (albeit very stupid) jokes, which are all I need to have a really fun movie night.