Directed by Vincente Minnelli, this romantic comedy follows Tom Corbett (Glenn Ford), a widowed father and radio station manager whose titular son Eddie (9-year-old Ron Howard, then already known for roles on The Andy Griffith Show and in THE MUSIC MAN) is so desperate to have a mother figure in his life again that he constantly tries to play matchmaker.
John Gay’s screenplay, based on a 1961 novel by Mark Toby, is equal parts hilarious and emotional, and it is this foundation on which the entire cast so brilliantly builds upon. Not only is the chemistry between Ford and Howard absolutely top-notch, as if they were actually father and son, but they also both come off as very natural actors individually, making their roles all the more relatable and genuine.
The pair are well-backed by a supporting cast including Shirley Jones as their divorced next-door neighbor Elizabeth, Dina Merrill as the socialite Rita, Stella Stevens as a beauty queen from Montana trying to become more sociable herself, Jerry Van Dyke (yes, the brother of Dick) as Tom’s womanizing radio colleague Norm, and Roberta Sherwood (in her film debut) as their housekeeper, Mrs. Livingston, who is also trying to learn Spanish on the side.
Of course, this show also spawned an eponymous television series which aired for three seasons on ABC, although all of the roles were recast. While this series seems to have more recognition, the film that started it all still holds up even now, and is a very delightful and entertaining treat to watch.