The Fat Spy (1966)
Fat and Flat
Whoever those teenagers are, I want them driven back into the sea! - Wellington
There is a scene in "The Fat Spy" where Junior is flying with her beau Irving and discovering that they are nearly out of gas proclaims "Who knows this might not be as bad as it looks", trust me it is. In fact "The Fat Spy" is one of the worst movies I have ever watched which is not something I generally say about older movies. Everything about it is bad from the mess which masquerades as a story, the humour which is cringe worthy the acting which is worse and then there is all the musical elements of teenagers singing and dancing in their swim wear. Even the fact that "The Fat Spy" features Jayne Mansfield is not a plus point as she delivers some of the movies worst moments. To put it simply there is absolutely nothing to praise when it comes to "The Fat Spy".
When a group of teenagers head out to what they think is a deserted island its owner George Wellington (Brian Donlevy) sends his daughter Junior (Jayne Mansfield - The Sheriff of Fractured Jaw) over to help one of his employees Irving (Jack E. Leonard) to discover what is going on. Junior is more than happy to do so as she has a thing for Irving despite him being a complete buffoon. And Irving's twin brother Herman (Jack E. Leonard) is just as interested in why the teenagers have hit the island as he is on the search for the fountain of youth so that he and his true love Camille Salamander (Phyllis Diller) can be together.
As storylines go there is part of me which wants to say that "The Fat Spy" is simple but it is such a mess that what should be simple becomes hard work to follow. And making sense of a storyline which has partying teenagers, bungling staff, mermaids, and a busty Junior trying to snare herself the inept Irving whilst his twin brother woos college sweetheart Camille whilst they all seem to be searching for the secret of eternal youth ends up not worth it. It doesn't help that director Joseph Cates chops and changes things, jumping from one story to the next with an aid of a cue card before switching back. And so what could be summed up as a movie about discovering the fountain of eternal youth becomes so messy that following what is going on is futile.
But to be honest even before the movie starts you question whether watching is going to be pointless as we have a scene of two men singing before we then get the credits. The men singing have nothing to do with the movie but strangely sets the tone for what is to come as we get one sort of musical scene after another or at least scenes where we either get a song or a character supposedly singing. But there is no way you could call this a musical as these songs, many of which are simply terrible seem to be thrown in to pad things out and that is a mistake as at 80 minutes a good percentage of that is filled by these pointless songs.
But ironically the songs are not the worst thing as the comedy is even worse. Watching Jack E. Leonard trying to deliver a funny walk is excruciating as is the weak gag which sees Phyllis Diller slap on a pair of glasses with falls eyes. And in a strange way those two are probably the best moments of humour as it just gets worse and worse. The thing is that "The Fat Spy" is so bad it goes beyond being so bad it's good and ends up on a completely different level of being terrible.
And the acting doesn't help matters either with every single actor and actress from Jayne Mansfield through to Phyllis Diller delivering lines looking at the camera and seeming to be reading what they are meant to say. Even the teenagers who don't have a lot to say are just as bad although at least they actually look at each other when they deliver their lines, or at least some of the time.
Maybe I have got it wrong, maybe "The Fat Spy" is meant to be a bad spoof of 60s spy movies combined with beach party movies but if it is the case it is also a bad movie because there is absolutely nothing, even Jayne Mansfield shapely figure which makes it worth watching.
What this all boils down to is that "The Fat Spy" is not only a bad and misguided movie those who decide to watch it are also misguided. There is nothing good about it and it is so bad it goes beyond the point of being amusingly bad.
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