Tugboat Annie, while weak in many respects, is on the whole perfectly suited to the Dressler-Beery requirements. In the hands of the co-starring couple its deficiencies are barely noticeable.
Making Marie Dressler the femme skipper of a harbor tugboat, Wallace Beery her shiftless, soused but likeable husband, and giving them a son of which to be proud, was giving Dressler-Beery a blueprint and then going home.
Beery is always stewed and Dressler constantly trying to keep him dry. That provides the comedy. Beery is getting the family into all sorts of jams – stupidly, drunkenly, tragically, but unintentionally. That provides the pathos.
Robert Young and Maureen O’Sullivan are the juves, and just juves, with no chance to be anything more. It’s a Dressler-Beery picture [from the Saturday Evening Post series by Norman Reilly Raine].