The big school dance is coming up and Judy Foster (Jane Powell) is planning on attending with her boyfriend Oogie Pringle (Scotty Beckett). Oogie is also the brother of her best friend Carol (Elizabeth Taylor). But right before the big dance, Oogie decides he can’t take Judy, so the owner of the local soda shop gets his nephew Stephen Andrews (Robert Stack) to take Judy instead. Judy is immediately smitten with Stephen and so is every other girl at the dance, including Carol. Oogie is very jealous, but Judy swears she won’t take Oogie back.
Meanwhile, Judy’s parents’ anniversary is coming up. To surprise his wife, Judy’s father Melvin (Wallace Beery) decides to learn how to rumba so he can surprise his wife when they go out to celebrate their anniversary. He takes lessons from Rosita Cochellas (Carmen Miranda), girlfriend of bandleader Xavier Cugat (himself). Melvin wants to keep this a secret, so he has Rosita give him lessons in his office, but when Judy pays an unexpected visit to his office, she gets the wrong idea when she sees Rosita’s purse there.
Oogie wants to get back together with Judy and Carol does her best to help, but Judy wants to continue seeing Stephen. Judy even wants to marry Stephen. But Stephen is more interested in Carol, or at least he is until he realizes just how snobbish Carol can be. And even if Judy wanted to get back together with Oogie, she’s more concerned with trying to save her parents’ marriage. On the night of the anniversary celebration, Judy and Carol confront Rosita and realize what a mistake they’ve made. Not only is Judy’s parents’ marriage safe, but by the end of the night, Judy and Oogie get back together and Stephen comes around to Carol again.
A Date With Judy is nothing exceptional, but it’s likeable enough. My biggest complaint about it is that for the type of movie it is, a light and fluffy bit of nonsense entertainment, it felt overly long. It’s a nearly two-hour long movie that felt like it should have been more like 90 minutes.
However, I was very pleasantly surprised by Wallace Beery’s performance in it. When I think of Wallace Beery, I think of him playing loutish characters in things like Grand Hotel and Dinner at Eight and from what I’ve heard, he was a lout off-screen as well. But in A Date With Judy, he actually brought a lot of warmth and charm to his character, which was a very refreshing change of pace. The biggest highlight of A Date With Judy is getting to see Beery as Melvin trying to learn how to rumba.