For Pete's Sake [1974]

Barbra Streisand returned to amped-up comedy form (following her work in Herbert Ross's sharp, unsentimental The Owl and the Pussycat and Peter Bogdanovich's screwball homage, What's Up, Doc?) in this nutty 1974 feature by Peter Yates (Bullitt, Breaking Away). Playing a Brooklyn housewife so dedicated to her cabdriver husband (Michael Sarrazin) she'll do anything to help him get ahead, Streisand's character--with the impossible name of Henry--secretly borrows three thousand dollars from a loan shark so hubby can play the stock market. When an expected windfall doesn't happen, Henry becomes frantically inventive trying to raise the money to pay the shark back. Originally called July Pork Bellies (a reference to commodities futures that makes sense in the context of this story), For Pete's Sake doesn't really measure up to the aforementioned Streisand comedies, but there are certainly solid moments and individual performances to single out for praise. (Among the latter is wonderful character work by Molly Picon, Estelle Parsons, and William Redfield.) Director Yates, as has often been the case, didn't quite get his head around this sort of broad material; as comedy goes, he has proven more adept with sweeter, droller films such as Breaking Away. Despite all that, true Streisand fans will not let this get away without a look. --Tom Keogh

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