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Carry On Girls (1973)



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With Carry On Girls, the series takes a sharp turn for the worse. More than any other Carry On, this is a Sid James and Barbara Windsor show. Both of them are wonderfully entertaining elsewhere in the series, but the problem here is that they're on the same side and lack a strong foil for their antics. Kenneth Williams is absent this time and sorely missed, Hattie Jacques is also absent, and Joan Sims is woefully underused.

And so the film is pretty much just a relentless sequence of comic set pieces where James and Windsor unleash their brand of manic energy, which by this point had become too familiar to be surprising or outrageous, at nothing in particular. Comedy doesn't work that way. It depends on conflict. The antics of James and Windsor were never funny on their own; they were funny because of how they affected the other characters.

As for the other regulars, most of them are trying to act funny instead of being funny. Kenneth Connor, for example, usually plays quirky, neurotic characters, but in earlier films such as Carry On Sergeant and Carry On Nurse, his quirks were exaggerations of a recognizable personality, which is why he was funny. Here, there is no personality, only behavior. Ditto Peter Butterworth, whose only "joke" in the whole film is to get fresh with the ladies.

Bernard Bresslaw is pretty funny here, though, and gets a chance to play around with some hilariously awful disguises. He also has a few good scenes with Barbara Windsor, which are funny enough just because of the nearly two foot difference in their height. There are also a few good moments with Joan Hickson, in her fifth small role in the series.

These moments make the film worthwhile for Carry On fans -- but only the fans -- even though the film as a whole is a disappointment.

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