I wish I could understand why classic Best Picture Winners have been such a hit or miss with me over the course of this BackLOG or hell, classic films in general. Some I've really enjoyed, fallen in love with, recommended to others. Some I've sat in a daze blaming the fact that I just didn't live in that time period for my complete lack of understanding and respect for what the movie was trying to do. Funny I say it that way, huh? 'Cause that's exactly what happened with You Can't Take It With You. Strangely enough, some of the messages in this movie could carry over into today. I can easily see some of the anti-government, anti-tax conversation pieces showing up in little snippets on YouTube, embedded in my Facebook wall by my 3rd degree contacts who constantly post about the corruption and hypocrisy of modern day government while at the same time liking any page that is against voting.
The Sycamore family of this movie would probably be in that same group of people, taking on the role of eccentric left wing "Whateva! Whateva! I do what I want!" family whose wealth isn't really explained but they've decided that since they have it…fuck responsibility. Between making fireworks in the basement, practicing horrible dancing constantly, and having a twisted obsession with the xylophone, the Sycamores all seem somewhat mentally retarded and act as if their entire life is a high school one-act and each one is hoping to be noticed by a talent scout. They're basically the 1930's Kardashians mixed with the social ineptness of the Addams Family.
But anyway, on the flip side of this is the Kirby family; the big swanky, "my daddy owns the bank," uber-conservatives who are the kind of snooty, snobbish, arrogant assholes that all us little guys all despise, but secretly wish we could be some day. They're boring…but rich and boring! So fuck off!
Trying to use the ol' bullshit "opposites attract" ploy, the Kirbys and the Sycamores are forced to clash because Alice Sycamore and Tony Kirby want to get married. In this liberal vs. conservative clusterfuck (been a while since I've used that word), these two are a bit more moderate and level-headed, but know that getting these families together could have some disastrous results (the box told me).
Planning the customary "each family sizes each other up" dinner, the Kirbys accidently show up a day early, not giving the Sycamores a chance to change out of their beanies and rainbow suspenders so they can put on the non-wrinkled clothing with the buttons you have to push through a slot. Forcibly introduced to the insane asylum, the mannerisms of the Kirbys collide with the eccentricity of the Sycamores in what is supposed to be a laugh-a-minute frenzy, but instead just looks like a boring case for Ritalin.
This movie had the same problem that Rachel Getting Married had in that it was so obsessed with its own atmosphere that it forgot there was supposed to be a story somewhere. Too much time is spent watching the Sycamores be whack jobs for the sake of inspiring laughter that by the time it actually gets a plot, I'm already bored and hitting pause on the Xbox to see how much time is left in the movie. I'd have been ok if it were actually any fun, but there was nothing clever or witty about of any of this; it was just a carnival of freaks with no actual guidance through it (complete with Russian strongman!). And remember the fact that two kids were supposed to get married? Yeah…the movie barely did too, but oh look! Grandpa's in a toga holding a plate! Trust me, it's funnier reading that than it is seeing it.
You Can't Take It With You tries to take on a very challenging position of "sticking it to the man and living free" but suffers from such a bad case of ADD it's amazing that midway through it didn't accidentally start showing scenes from Little Miss Broadway. Using cheap sight gags as its only method for generating laughs, it wasn't incredibly funny or really all that entertaining. Though the vibes of positivity were well received, they weren't very well understood because there wasn't enough conflict to let you treasure them; it's like if Mary Poppins just skipped the first half hour and the last hour and instead of taking a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down, you just take a spoonful of sugar because sugar is yummy. Yeah, it's cute and all but…so what?
For numerous problems and a serious lack of enjoyment, I give You Can't Take It With You a mediocre 6 dustbusters out of 10. Points for effort and performance…but a big "go fuck yourself" for plot and overall flow. You CAN take that with you.