Jessica Bendinger on


Released 1975
Distributor United Artists

Smile, Michael Ritchie’s aptly named 1975 film, takes aim at American beauty pageants and the sunnily eager contestants, their ravenous parents and long suffering chaperones. But the real reason to smile is Bruce Dern’s funny and touching performance as Big Bob Freelander, head judge of the contest and sometime used car dealer. Once again Ritchie takes an overflowing cast of characters (including Barbara Feldon and Melanie Griffith) and gives each one of them their due. Annette O’Toole has a memorable moment as a demurely sexy contestant who finds a provocative way to catch the judges’ attention. 

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About Jessica Bendinger

Jessica Bendinger is an acclaimed screenwriter and director whose work has spawned myriad sequels, TV shows and Jeopardy questions. Her directing credits include the feature film Stick It and numerous music videos for artists such as Queen Latifah and Warrior Soul. Her writing credits include the iconic Bring it On!, The Truth about Charlie, First Daughter and Aquamarine. A former journalist for Spin Magazine and MTV News, Jessica is also a published novelist, a songwriter and has several pilots in development.

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