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JLFM's Movie Reviews (152)

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Singin' in the Rain 
Forgettable Songs Hinder An Otherwise Fun Film
3/4 stars

Singin' in the Rain is often hailed as the greatest musical ever made. It's constantly referenced in modern film, and has been universally labeled as a masterpiece. So would it be strange if I were to say this film would've been much better without the musical numbers?

I have nothing against musicals. Some of my favorite films are musicals. But the songs in Singin' in the Rain are mostly mediocre and instantly forgettable, diminishing an otherwise entertaining and enjoyable production.

Don Lockwood is enjoying life as a Hollywood star, even if he does have to work with the irritating Lina Lamont. However, when a new kind of film known as "talkies" becomes popular, Lockwood, as well as his two friends, Cosmo Brown and Kathy Selden must learn to adjust to this new kind of cinema.

As I mentioned before, the musical numbers and songs are among the only things keeping me from giving Singin' in the Rain a better score. I wanted to love this film, but I can only truthfully say that I liked it. More often than not, the songs serve more as filler than something that actually progresses the story, or enhances it.

Only the title song, "Singin' in the Rain," and "Moses Supposes" remain in memory. All other numbers are unremarkable and uninteresting. If you asked me to recount any of the lyrics to any of the other songs, I would struggle to come up with more than a few words.

This is a huge shame, because outside of the musical numbers, Singin' in the Rain is a cheery and entertaining film. The characters are well developed, which makes the story richer. Don Lockwood is confident, but only when the public opinion of himself is positive. Lina Lamont has fame and fortune, and everything she wants, but becomes grumpy when she is not loved by Lockwood. To contrast, Cosmo Brown is a nobody, but is thankful for what he gets and is always positive. Kathy Selden is the most uninteresting character. The spunk and personality displayed in her first few scenes disappears after she makes amends with Lockwood.

Likewise, the acting is excellent. Gene Kelly pulls off confident Don Lockwood perfectly, while Donald O'Connor is perfect as Cosmo Brown. Jean Hagen is great for the despicable Lina Lamont, and Debbie Reynolds makes the best of her character, Kathy Selden. But it's Douglas Fowley who steals most of the scenes as the cranky director.

It's a shame that in a film where music is the main point, that the musical numbers are also the weakest aspect. The actual film is good, corny, feel-good stuff that's fun to watch. You get some laughs, you get some smiles, it's all in good fun. Unfortunately, the songs lead to some terribly dull stretches that break the flow and ruin this otherwise highly entertaining film.

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