Four identical suitcases in one hotel. What could go wrong. (1 hr 34 min)
Rated G. Mild risqué humor, including Streisand in a bathtub, or clad only in a towel. Violent slapstick and vehicular mayhem. Kahn’s character asserts she was molested, which the judge calls “unbelievable”.
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The film is an unapologetic homage to Howard Hawks’ screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby. O’Neal, Kahn, and director Bogdanovich reunited for Paper Moon the following year.
I'm not Steve. I'm Howard.
Everywhere Judy Maxwell (Barbra Streisand) goes she leaves chaos in her wake. She can barely cross the street without causing two cars to crash. In What’s Up, Doc? she crosses paths (and suitcases) with mild-mannered musicologist Howard Bannister (Ryan O'Neal), who can’t understand who this strange woman is, or why she keeps pretending to be his wife or fiancée. Howard already has a fiancée, you see, in the form of a high-strung Madeline Kahn (in an unforgettable screen debut). Austin Pendleton delights as the blithe philanthropist Howard is attempting to woo, as does Kenneth Mars as Howard’s pompous Croatian rival. From the beginning there are two additional matching bags to keep track of (in subplots involving espionage and stolen jewels), so part of the fun is in trying to follow who has their hands on which bag. The ridiculousness piles ever higher, reaching its climax in a car chase through the steep hills (and steps) of San Francisco. The moment in the chase when two workers appear carrying a plate glass window is both unexpected and wholly unsurprising. By the time you reach the punch line of that particular gag someone in your living room will be screaming. —