The Young Ones (1961)
It's Wonderful to be Young - well sort of
"The Young Ones" features a group of young people trying to save their beloved youth club by putting on a show, it's funny then that the actual movie feels like it's been put together by a youth group. Oh there is a storyline and some comedy as well as plenty of song and dance scenes but none of it works together making "The Young Ones" a bit of a jolty movie to watch. It also doesn't help that watching "The Young Ones" now you can't but laugh at how cheesy it is with lashings of youthful enthusiasm and innocence. But "The Young Ones" is a piece of British nostalgia with Cliff Richard singing and dancing as he leads the movie in the same way that Elvis Presley was trying to be a movie star.
When Nicky (Cliff Richard - Serious Charge) and his friends discover that they are about to loose their beloved youth club they try and find a way to stop property tycoon Hamilton Black (Robert Morley) from knocking it down. The trouble for Nicky is that Hamilton Black is his father and his friends don't know this. But Nicky decides the youth club is more important than his father's plans and along with his friends set about putting on a show in the hope of raising the £1500 they need to keep their youth club.
The biggest problem with "The Young Ones" is that it is so unbalanced. Within the first 15 minutes there have been 3 song and dance numbers all of which have nothing to do with the storyline other than leading us to the youth club and establishing that Nicky and a young woman called Toni are a sort of an item. And to be honest 15 minutes in "The Young Ones" was already losing me as it fails to get going with the real storyline. And this continues throughout as the movie seems to be made up of more song and dance numbers than actual scenes which tell the story.
As for the actual storyline well it's seriously simple with a group of young people trying to raise £1500 by putting on a show to stop them from losing their youth club. Any sort of complexity with Nicky being the son of the property tycoon looking to demolish the centre or starlet Dorinda making advances on Nicky are dealt with no sense of crescendo. In a way you don't expect a complex storyline but you do expect one with a bit more meat on it's bones than this one. And so unless you don't get carried away by all the musical numbers then there is little to entertain, not even the comedy is that funny.
What is evident is that "The Young Ones" has ideas of grandeur and there is a sense that it is trying to imitate the MGM musicals but frankly doesn't get close to pulling it off. The problem is that most of the actual songs are frankly not that memorable and whilst Cliff Richard does a good job of singing such songs as "One For All" they don't stick with you, with the exception of the title track. And then there are the actual dance routines which are all well choreographed but it seems so false, so staged rather than feeling natural.
And that is one of the annoyances about "The Young Ones", it all feels overly staged. It has that feeling of a youth production where the finer touch of blending the different elements just doesn't happen. And with so many musical numbers it is out of balance as it throws one song and dance scene after another at us rather than blending them together with more story.
As for the actual acting well what can I say because most of the movie is dominated by the musical numbers. Cliff Richard does an adequate enough job of leading the movie although it's obvious that he's cast for his good looks and singing voice. As such there is no chemistry between him and Carole Gray who plays Toni and to be honest Gray seems to be just going through the motions. As for the rest well Richard O'Sullivan and Melvyn Hayes try their best to make the comedy work and Teddy Green delights with various dance routines.
What is very evident is that "The Young Ones" is a movie which I would think is still fun for those who enjoyed it when it originally came out. But for those who watch it for the first time now will find it incredibly cheesy. It's full of innocence and sweet moments that it's hard, in fact impossible to take in the least bit seriously and it's best not to even try.
What this all boils down to is that "The Young Ones" just didn't do it for me. I enjoy a good musical but "The Young Ones" isn't a good one and seems to be trying too hard to be better than it is. The trouble is that it's out of balance and there are just too many musical numbers for the storyline and to be honest the musical numbers are just not that memorable. It's probably still good fun for those who watched this in the 60s, or still like Cliff Richard but beyond that it doesn't hold up well.
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