Tome Raider | California, United States | 09/18/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I read Mr. Maltin's brief review and was astonished that somebody who is in the business of reviewing films could so easily write this movie off. This film is hilarious; it has an innocence that we don't see much anymore. Don Knotts was a comedic genius, I'd without hesitation put him on a par with Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, Jim Carey. He plays the nerdly goofball brilliantly, and we can all see a bit of ourselves in his various awkward moments. This movie skillfully mocks the Cold War tension with it's parody of the Space Race, and there's even a little romance as Don lusts for a beauty who barely acknowledges his existence until she hears that he's going to be an astronaut. The soundtrack is great as well, very happy stuff and it reminds me of the old Sunday night Disney show's music.My wife and I watched this on Septemeber 15, 2001, four days after September 11, 2001. It was exactly the ticket for helping us to forget for a moment the ugliness of the real world.I've never been very impressed by Mr. Maltin. He gives terse conclusions which are unsubstantiated by specific references. I'm 41 years old and this movie entertained me like few others. Don Knotts is an undervalued classic; my bet is that after he passes away there will be a big revival for his work."
Wrong, Mr. Maltin
Tome Raider | 02/05/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Once again Leonard Maltin is wrong, wrong, wrong (see above). You either like Don Knotts or you don't. For those who do, and there are millions of us, his comedies from the 1960s like "The Reluctant Astronaut" are very entertaining, and, yes, very funny films.I grew up in the 1960s and "The Reluctant Astronaut" was another of those Don Knott's comedies that the whole family was taken to the drive-in theatre on a Friday night. For Leonard Maltin to call this childish is an unfair statement. I'm almost forty now and I still LOVE watching this movie as every bit as I did back in '67. I would never pay a dime to see Leonard Maltin act and I always turn the channel whenever he comes on television with one of his one sided reviews. What is funnier than seeing Knott's up in space opening a special can that shoots out peanut butter and then proceeds to do a dance around him like a snake? I am on the floor rolling! And who would ever think that Leslie Nielsen would ever become the icon for 90s comedies that he has today? He is very straight in this film which gives the film balance.They don't movies like this anymore. I highly recomend this video. Buy it now before it goes out of print."
The best film of Don Knotts' brief film career
Tome Raider | 10/21/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"An entertainingly funny movie starring one of the most underrated acting talents of all time. This was one of the many low-budget comedies produced in Hollywood in the mid-sixties, but it ranks up there among the best. The screenplay and the role seem tailor-made for Knotts."
The Reluctant Astronaut
Beverly Kaynes | San Francisco, CA | 11/18/2000
(3 out of 5 stars)
"You gotta love Don Knotts. . . always the nervously dimwitted goof-up! There is something endearing about his naive harebrained ways. Knotts plays a humble small town carnival ride operator by the name of Roy Fleming. His father, Buck, who has bigger aspirations for his son, signs Roy up for the space program. Despite the fact that Roy is happy living his simple life, he heads off to Houston to follow his father's dream. As it turns out, Roy lands a job as a janitor. What a relief for him considering he is deathly afraid of heights! But fearing what his parents will think if they find out about his menial job, he manages to keep up the facade of being a big time astronaut. And when NASA decides to send a regular person to space to test out a new spacecraft, not only will Roy get to live up to his father's expectations, he will also get a chance to confront his own fear of heights. This is one goofball comedy that may be a little nonsensical to some, but for someone like Gulliver, whose all-time favorite sitcom is Three's Company (pre-Ralph Furley), I'm sure you'll find this no-brainer a riot to watch."
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, blastoff to hilarity
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 11/28/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The Reluctant Astronaut is one of the truly classic Don Knotts films, consistently hilarious while also sporting some touching scenes between a father and his son. Roy Fleming (Knotts) is just about the last person you would want to shoot into space: I seriously doubt he could pass NASA's physical requirements, for one thing; he knows next to nothing about the requisite technology; and he is so terrified by heights that he can't even stand in a chair by himself. Fleming is just a below-average regular guy simulating space flights for kids at a carnival, trying to win the heart of the hot dog girl, and still living with his parents at the age of 35. His father has what you might call a dominating personality, and poor Roy proves unable to convince him that he does not want to be an astronaut. His father submitted the application for him, though, and he has already spread the word all over town that his son has been accepted. With great trepidation, Roy leaves for Houston (which is a funny bit all by itself), meets up with famous astronaut Fred Gifford (Leslie Nielsen), and is more than a little surprised to find out that he is actually going to be an assistant janitor. He tries to tell his father the truth, but the old man is so proud of his astronaut son that Roy begins living a lie. Of course, the truth will out in the end, and it looks like there will be no happy ending in sight. Then, in the depths of failure, a light of opportunity suddenly shines on Roy, and he gets the chance to make things right- if he has the courage to do what is asked of him.
This was a role seemingly tailor-made for Don Knotts. He's thoroughly convincing as the small-time loser pretending to be something he is not. While the film itself is openly silly, Knotts plays the scattered serious moments in a wonderfully sympathetic way and transforms his character into a hero of sorts even before he sets foot in the space capsule. It goes without saying that he is a comic genius, as well, so you can imagine just how funny his outer space scenes are. I wish I could catalogue every funny moment in the film, but that would deny viewers the pleasure of experiencing them all for themselves. Suffice it to say that The Reluctant Astronaut features one of history's funniest actors in one of his funniest movies - and it's good, wholesome entertainment, to boot."