I’ve watched Singin’ in the Rain five or six times, but I can’t take it anymore. Donald O’Connor, I mean, and his relentlessly plucky, rubber-limbed, super-athletic performance as Cosmo the piano player.
O’Connor thinks he’s playing a funny quipster but nothing he says or does makes you crack the slightest smile. Everything out of his mouth is arch and feigned and wink-winky — he doesn’t deliver a single sincere note in the entire film.
After a while you’re thinking “Jesus, who is this asshole?…does he do anything but mug and bark lines and make stretchy clown faces and bounce around?” I realize that the fault lies with Betty Comden and Adolph Green‘s script, which only pays attention to Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds‘ characters.
All I know is, Cosmo ruins the film for me. It’s not O’Connor I have trouble with, but the smirking, wafer-thin, seltzer-bottle attitude that he was called upon to play.
I realize that O’Connor lived a difficult life to some extent once he got into this mid 20s. I thought he was fine in the Francis the Talking Mule movies, and he wasn’t bad in There’s No Business Like Show Business.