Out to Sea – In the Navy (1941)

The boys are at it again and this time Bud Abbott and Lou Costello are In the Navy, bringing Dick Powell, Claire Dodd and the Andrews Sisters along for the ride. This go-round, Costello is Pomeroy and Abbott is Smokey and the two are already up to their usual hijinks when Powell joins them, looking to get away from the fame and the women in his career as a singer, to just be himself again and what better way than serving one’s country. There is one pesky reporter played by Dodd who will not let it go though and while Powell will do his best to avoid her, having Abbott and Costello around can only mean his efforts will all be for naught.

Once again, Bud and Lou deliver the goods as they never cease to put a smile on the face of the audience, their ridiculous antics just that and as a result so funny it is hard not to laugh. Most of it is all at Costello’s expense which is exactly how viewers would have it and yet, in the end, the man always seems to come out on top despite the few setbacks he might have along the way. There are numerous routines as performed by the duo such as a very unfair version of Three-card Monte, the riotous water initiation sequence and of course, a bit of math that makes absolutely no sense and yet does in a very backwards, upside-down way. It almost feels unfair to pull away from the men when Powell’s storyline comes into play but a bit of drama to balance it all out did no harm and there was even a bit of lighthearted comedy to that as well thanks to the flirtatious on-screen chemistry between him and Dodds.

Just like Buck Privates, there are also a few musical interludes courtesy of The Andrews Sisters who do what they do best and unlike that first A&C vehicle, they actually have a reason for being in the film as Pomeroy has been writing to Patty, hoping against hope that they might end up dating. That too leads to a few laughs in the picture but overall, if the Sisters had decided to skip this picture, it would not have been considered a loss. The Condos Brothers provide a tap number and Costello also gets to sing a few bars in his own manner and while all of it was good and enjoyable, it is the comedy that people came for and that is what really makes this picture shine.

As an added bonus, Shemp Howard of The Three Stooges also appears in a small supporting role as a chef, much like he did in Bud and Lou’s previous film, just adding to an overall stacked cast. With a bit of action involving Costello’s character pretending to be the captain to impress the Andrews Sisters, the film ends on a laugh just as it should and makes In the Navy just as good as the first outing for Abbott and Costello, if not a little better.

4 out of 5

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