Title: Smile (1975)
Director/Writer: Michael Ritchie/Jerry Belson
Cast: Bruce Dern, Barbara Feldon, Michael Kidd, Geoffrey Lewis, Nicholas Pryor, etc.
Duration: 113 minutes.
Languages: English, with soft English, French, and Spanish subs.
Plot Outline: A small-town beauty pageant, and the turmoil it causes in the lives of its participants and sponsors, is the focus of this dark and witty cult comedy from Michael Ritchie (The Bad News Bears, Fletch). Bruce Dern shines in a rare comic lead as the chief judge of the "Young American Miss" contest, and his ability to find humor and pathos in his sad-sack character is well-matched by Barbara Feldon as a glacial former contestant, Geoffrey Lewis as a densely heartless sponsor, and famed choreographer Michael Kidd as (what else) the disillusioned pageant choreographer. Ritchie and writer Jerry Belson split the film's focus between the contestants (among them Annette O'Toole, Melanie Griffith, and Colleen Camp) and the sponsors and judges, and if the plot takes an absurd turn at the climax, Smile is ultimately a rare satire that cares for its characters while skewering their foibles.