The Million Dollar Duck (1971)

THE MILLION DOLLAR DUCK (1971)
Article 3392 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 10-15-2010
Posting Date: 11-27-2010
Directed by Vincent McEveety
Featuring Dean Jones, Sandy Duncan, Joe Flynn
Country: USA
What it is: Shopping cart movie

An experimental scientist takes home a duck from the lab after it fails every experiment and becomes irradiated. They discover that the duck lays eggs with golden yolks when barked at by dogs. Will greed cause them to lose their humanity?

According to IMDB, this movie shares the dubious distinction of being one of the only three movies Gene Siskel walked out on during his movie review career. So how awful is it? It’s not near as awful as that trivia seems to imply, but it does mark a low point of the Disney shopping cart movies, as I call them. These Disney comedies always flirted with silliness, stupidity and contrived situations, but this one falls in. All of the major characters act like idiots (except the little boy, whose main function is to tug on the heartstrings), the whole setup is incredibly contrived, and most of the jokes are pretty lame. Still, I think one of the more subtle problems is that the concept itself doesn’t lend itself to clever special effects, which is one of the big attractions of these Disney comedies, thus making the movie a little disappointing from the outset. On the plus side, the cast is appealing (especially Dean Jones and Sandy Duncan), but you’re all too aware that they are playing roles that are beneath their abilities.

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