Carl Reiner’s scenario, from a story he wrote in collaboration with Larry Gelbart, is peppered with digs at various institutions of American life. Among the targets of his fairly subtle but telling assault with the needle are television, Madison Avenue, the servant problem and such specific matters as the sharp points at the rear extremities of the modern Cadillac and the maitre d’ who has immediate seating for celebrities only.
But these nuggets and pinpricks of satiric substance are primarily bonuses. Ultimately it is in the design and engineering of cumulative sight gag situations that Thrill of It All excels. In addition to a running gag about a suspiciously similar weekly series of live TV dramas, there is a scene in which a swimming pool saturated with soap gives birth to a two-story-high mountain of suds and another in which James Garner, coming home from work one evening, drives his convertible into his back yard and straight into a pool that wasn’t there in the morning.
Doris Day scores as the housewife with two children who is suddenly thrust into an irresistible position as an $80,000-a-year pitch woman for an eccentric soap tycoon who is impressed by her unaffected quality. Bearing the brunt of these soap operatics is Garner as the gynecologist whose domestic tranquillity is shattered by his wife’s sudden transition to career girl.
Arlene Francis and Edward Andrews are spirited in the key roles of a middle-aged couple suddenly expectant parents. ZaSu Pitts does all she can with some ridiculous shenanigans as a fretful maid.