The “Road to…” movies are a rare breed of 1940s Hollywood cinema, desperately trying to get as much passed the censors as possible without ever breaking any codes. And while breaking the fourth wall has become more common over the years, you don’t see any movies made before 1960 doing it effectively…aside from the “Road to…” movies. They’re always a treat with Bing Crosby and Bob Hope dishing out one liners, ripping each other apart with insults, poking fun at their careers and Paramount, and desperately trying to win Dorothy Lamour over the other, like the two were bickering brothers trying to win the role of Deadpool.
“Road to Utopia” gives you more of this and never lets up, trying to break the fourth wall more than any other movie. What separates “Utopia” from their other films, namely “Road to Morocco,” is that this film leans more on slap stick, with scenes involving Bob Hope sleeping with a bear or the pile of snow Hope sits on melting away as Lamour sings to him. “Morocco” balanced its slap stick and witty dialogue rather well, while “Utopia” has far more stunts and visual gags. At times, it has a lot more in common with Chaplin’s “The Gold Rush” than “Morocco,” though that could just be the similar setting and premise of two hopeless drifters trying to make it big in the Yukon during the gold rush.
Still, “Road to Utopia” delivers on every front. The chemistry between Hope and Crosby is sizzling, the pacing gives the audience enough time to breathe between the jokes and more intense moments, and the comedy is even better than it was in “Morocco.” While the music isn’t as catchy, that’s not enough to distract from a fun time with one of the greatest comedic duos of all time.
Final Grade: B+