|Jean Arthur and Herbert Marshall|
Jim Buchanan (Herbert Marshall) is engaged to Evelyn Fletcher (Freida Inescort), whose chief interest in him seems to be his money. One afternoon in the park Jim encounters job-hungry Joan (Jean Arthur), who assumes he's out of work and importunes him to go with her to answer an ad for cook and butler in the mansion of gangster Mike Rossini (Leo Carrillo of Horror Island). Smitten with the refreshingly sweet and honest Joan, Jim goes along with the gag, although Rossini assumes the two are married. Understandably, all manner of complications occur. If You Could Only Cook is standard, silly, highly contrived screwball comedy stuff, only the laughs don't quite arrive with enough frequency. Arthur and Marshall are both wonderful, however, and their performances are the chief reason for watching the movie. Carrillo is fine, Inescort is given little to do but does it well, and Lionel Stander [Mr. Deeds Goes to Town] is simply gross and typically repulsive as Rossini's good right hand. Jean Arthur and Leo Carrillo also appeared together in History is Made at Night.
Verdict: Slight and over-familiar, but the stars are great. **.