My parents went to see this movie on their first date and soon after blended two large families together, much in the same manner as the Beardsleys and Norths. I am extremely grateful to the tellers of this story for inspiring my parents to marry, thus giving me the best mother in the world.
Though this is a comedy, and bits of it are truly hilarious, it is not overdone and focuses well on important family issues. Lucille Ball is very much not Lucy in this film, and is the perfect blend of serious and funny. Many of the younger actors are very recognizable despite their youth including Tim Matheson and Tracy Nelson who, due to her smile and other facial features, is easy to spot as the approximately three-year-old Jermaine.
The dual narration, assembly line lunch making, industrial laundry chores, military-like logistics for bathroom sharing, and grocery shopping for an apparent army are all interestingly staged. The movie also includes a nice variety of settings including the crowded house, bar, aircraft carrier, clinic, navel base, school, commissary, and hospital.
This is an uplifting family story and a wonderful Christmastime feel-good movie, though it is fun to watch all year round.
J.H. Sweet, author of The Fairy Chronicles