Fred has Ginger in his Powers
It's hard not to enjoy any of the movies which Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers starred in together; they were such a good team that even something weak could still entertain. And sadly for me "Carefree" is one of their weaker movies, which whilst amusing struggles to be memorable. The trouble is that whilst "Carefree" has more of a storyline than some of their previous movies the musical aspect isn't that great and to be honest that is what you remember when you've watched a Fred & Ginger movie. It's not that "Carefree" is bad, far from it just weaker compared to some of their other collaborations.
When Stephen Arden (Ralph Bellamy - Pretty Woman) has women trouble he visits his best friend Dr. Tony Flagg (Fred Astaire - Shall We Dance) for help and persuades him to see his girlfriend Amanda (Ginger Rogers - Swing Time) to find out why she is not interested in marrying him. Despite a less than successful first meeting Amanda finds herself falling for Tony until he puts her under hypnosis to try and make her feel more for Stephen and causes an utter mess especially when he realises he has fallen for her as well.
One of the plus points about "Carefree" is that it does have more of a storyline and as such focuses more on Fred & Ginger as actors than just a song and dance duo. This maybe down to that their being a lot less musical numbers but it is nice to watch Fred & Ginger work a story rather than just a musical routine.
The story itself well it is very stereotypical of their movies with a tale which mixes romance and confusion, a blend which fuelled many of their previous movies together. But it is an enjoyable set up from the minute we watch Amanda become annoyed with Tony over his opinion over her to her realisation that she loves him and he in turn loves her. It's not by any means complex, just good fun and has an inevitability about it as confusion, mistakes and various other issues causes romance to never run smoothly. It is basically what you expect from Fred and Ginger, comedy, confusion and romance and it delivers.
But what seems to be missing, the one thing which makes "Carefree" feel weaker is that it comes up short on the musical side both in numbers and memorability. With the exception of a dream sequence which sees Fred & Ginger dancing on giant lilies and an amusing tap dance as Fred shows of his golfing prowess there isn't a really amazing dance scene and to be honest these two are not that amazing. But it's also that there is no standout song which stays with you and it just feels wrong.
What though is nice is that with less musical numbers and more actual storyline we do see how Fred & Ginger can act, well I say act but in reality just play variations on themselves and characters they played before. It means that once again Fred delivers some wonderful moments of comedy but this time he is outshone by Ginger whose comedy performance when Amanda is giddy from anaesthetic is brilliant, totally mischievous and naughty school girl like. Plus they are assisted by Ralph Bellamy, Luella Gear and Jack Carson all of which provide more amusement.
What this all boils down to is that "Carefree" is really not that different to some of Fred & Ginger earlier movies but because the musical side of things feels weaker it makes the movie as a whole feel weaker. And it is a shame as the comedy on show in "Carefree" is pretty good especially from Ginger Rogers who outshines Fred when it comes to being funny.