With Mitchell Leisen directing, and Carole Lombard and Fred MacMurray starring, it would be impossible for this movie to be completely unsuccessful. The script, unlike later ones produced for Leisen by the likes of Preston Sturges, Billy Wilder, and Charles Brackett, is somewhat weaker than what he would work with later in the decade. But the principles are all so strong that they are able to transcend the weak script and achieve something much, much better than it ought to have been.
The strength of the film is without question Carole Lombard. My personal opinion has long been that she was simply the finest screen comedienne that Hollywood ever produced. Remove her from this film, and it would have been decidedly second rate.
The most fascinating scene in the movie occurs when Fred MacMurray and Carole Lombard are in her apartment when a gentleman who has a date with her knocks on the door. MacMurray, pretending to be her husband, answers the door. The part of the gentleman caller is played by none other than William Demarest, who would, of course, later costar with Fred MacMurray in MY THREE SONS, playing Uncle Charlie. To make the story complete, a year after HANDS ACROSS THE TABLE came out, MacMurray and Lombard would make a second film together, the less successful THE PRINCESS COMES ACROSS. One of MacMurray's costars is William Frawley, who was Demarest's predecessor on MY THREE SONS.
I found the Ralph Bellamy character to be highly problematic. A rich man confined to a wheelchair who is clearly in love with Lombard, he goes from trying to propose to her one minute to encouraging Fred MacMurray to propose to her (and being delighted at their engagement) the next. His character just muddies the narrative of the film, and as much as I usually enjoy Ralph Bellamy, the movie would have been stronger without his character.
In short, a thoroughly enjoyable film, but not a complete success. Definitely not the best work by any of the major participants in the film.