tek's rating: meh and a half

The Million Dollar Duck (G)
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This came out in 1971 (four years before I was born). I saw it on TV sometime, probably in the late 80s or early 90s. By the time I watched it again in 2022 to write this review, I only remembered two things about it: a duck that laid golden eggs, and having a crush on Sandy Duncan's character. Now that I've refreshed my memory, I can say the whole movie is completely ridiculous, though you probably could have guessed that from the premise. I know I thought it would be, before I re-watched it, and boy was I right. I feel kind of embarrassed for the actors. Oh, and I feel like I should say that no one ever gets anywhere near a million dollars from the duck.

Anyway, Dean Jones plays a research scientist named Albert Dooley, who is married to a rather kooky woman named Katie (Duncan), and they have a young son named Jimmy. At the start of the movie, Jimmy wants his dad to buy him a puppy, but he can't even afford to pay his bills, so Jimmy gets upset with him. Meanwhile, at work, he's been experimenting with a duck, just trying to get it to follow simple directions or whatever. But it's pretty much unteachable. Then one day it accidentally gets irradiated by another research team. Then Albert has to take it home with him, so that it wouldn't be killed. He never intended to keep it, but Jimmy soon became attached to it, and named it Charley (as he had earlier been planning on naming the puppy he wanted). Oh yeah, I should say that a number of times throughout the film, the duck is described with masculine terms, which seemed really weird to me, because it's obviously a female duck, if it can lay eggs. Anyway, Albert discovers that the yolks of the eggs are made of gold, so he becomes excited by the expectation of becoming rich. His friend, a lawyer named Fred Hines, sort of weasels his way into a partnership with Albert. They have Katie take the yolks to various refineries around town. This attracts the attention of the Treasury Department, where Albert's neighbor Finely Hooper works. In fact, it attracts the attention of certain people around the world, who are concerned about what this influx of gold could do to various nation's economies, or something. None of it really made any sense to me. But Hooper is assigned to spy on Albert, and he eventually discovers that the gold comes from a duck. And then there ensues a ridiculous chase scene, after Jimmy runs away with the duck and both Albert and the Treasury Department want to catch him. There's a subplot about Albert seeming to care more about the duck than he did about Jimmy (which upset Katie), but of course in the end he learns a lesson about what really matters.

There, that's pretty much the story. I didn't hate it, or anything, in fact I found parts of it vaguely enjoyable, I guess. My favorite part of the movie is still Katie. But really, the story isn't very good. I can enjoy some ridiculous stories, but this one just wasn't ridiculous in a fun enough way, in my opinion. (And critics of the movie mostly disliked it way more than I did.)

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