STILL haven’t seen Ishtar. I have a suspicion whoever cut the trailer didn’t like it very much. But I’m certainly intrigued.
I’ve watched the thing, and the movie would be a fine update on the Road pictures if it wasn’t for the songs. I find the movie unwatchable because not only are the two leads constantly singing terrible songs, May lingers on them singing them for minutes at a time. I think she took a comedic risk, which is admirable, in making the songs just that terrible, but it is the nature of risks that sometimes they don’t pay off. If the songs were even a little bit better, or took up a little less of the film, I could make it through without tearing my hair out at the roots, something I can ill afford.
I’ve actually had to see it multiple times, because it’s my father’s favorite film of all time. He has a gloriously tin ear, which renders him immune to Ishtar’s greatest failing.
Bad songs are tough to get right. Sing and Like It is an admirable pre-code which forces us to listen to the same awful number sung by Zasu Pitts a half dozen times. More of a joke for the filmmakers than the audience. And the songs in Kiss Me Stupid aren’t quite bad enough, somehow…