Penelope is one of those bright, delightfully-wacky comedies. It’s got a good – if light – basic plot premise and plenty of glib laugh lines and situations.
Script by George Wells [from a novel by E.V. Cunningham] gives full sway to the story of a young wife whose hobby is larceny. Arthur Hiller’s deft direction takes advantage of the intended spirit and seizes upon every opportunity for a romp.
Film opens with a little old lady holding up a bank and getting away with $60,000 a few hours after bank’s official opening. She turns out to be Natalie Wood, married to the bank’s prexy (Ian Bannen) and disguised with a rubber mask which she doffs, along with a distinguishing yellow suit, in ladies’ washroom.
Wood does a nimble job and turns in a gay performance as well as being a nice clothes-horse for Edith Head’s glamorous fashions. Bannen is properly stuffy as her spouse. As the psychoanalyst Dick Shawn is in his element in one of his zany characterizations and Peter Falk socks over his role as police lieutenant assigned to the bank case.