After Margaret Turner (Myrna Loy), an attractive, single judge, hears a case involving Dickie Nugent (Cary Grant), a playboy artist on trial with three acquaintances for brawling in a Los Angeles nightclub, she issues a warning and dismisses the defendants.

Later that day, Dickie delivers a lecture on art at a local high school, and Margaret's teenage sister and ward Susan (Shirley Temple), who is in attendance, becomes infatuated with him. Inspired by a vision she has of Dickie as a knight in shining armor, Susan insists on interviewing him for the school paper. To satisfy Susan's over-eager curiosity, Dickie invents a lurid past for himself and agrees offhandedly to use her as a model for one of his "Americana" paintings. That night, Susan reveals her infatuation to a disapproving Margaret and, after sneaking away from home, wrangles her way into Dickie's empty apartment. Susan falls asleep while waiting for Dickie, causing Margaret and her boyfriend, Assistant District Attorney Tommy Chamberlain (Rudy Vallee), to panic with worry. Just as Margaret deduces where Susan has gone, Dickie returns home and finds the teenager half-asleep on his couch. Margaret and Tommy burst in on the couple, and by the next morning, Dickie is in jail, having been arrested for, among other things, slugging Tommy.

While in his cell, Dickie is visited by court psychiatrist Dr. Matt Beemish (Ray Collins), who is also Margaret and Susan's uncle. Sensing Dickie's innocence, Matt convinces Margaret, Tommy and the judge who is hearing Dickie's case to drop all charges on condition that Dickie agree to "date" Susan as a way of curing her of her infatuation.

As mandated, Dickie escorts Susan to a high school basketball game, where her boyfriend, player Jerry White (Johnny Sands), becomes distracted with jealousy. Although Dickie tries to push Jerry back into Susan's arms by inviting them for a post-game soda, Jerry declares that he is resigned to losing Susan and offers to be her friend. After a frustrated Dickie says goodnight to Susan, he attempts a sincere flirtation with the serious-minded Margaret, but is awkwardly rebuffed by her.

Dickie finds the irrepressible Susan rather wearisome, but he throws himself into his sentence full-force, donning teenaged clothes, speaking in nonsense slang (mellow greetings, yukey dukey!) and participating in the athletic events at a high school picnic. At Susan's urging, Dickie participates in several races, but loses them all in humiliating fashion to the smug Tommy. Desperate to prove his manhood, Dickie enters the big obstacle race, and because Jerry and Susan have bribed their teenage friends to perform badly and sabotage other entrants in the competition, Dickie beats Tommy and wins. As Dickie accepts his trophy, the now smitten Margaret envisions him as a knight in shining armor, just as her sister had before, and calls him that night for a date. Though exhausted, Dickie eagerly agrees to meet her at the Tick Tock Club.

While DIckie and Margaret are at the Tick Tock Club, Tommy, Susan and Jerry join them at their table, where Susan denounces Margaret for "stealing" Dickie and Tommy accuses Dickie of immoral conduct towards Susan.

Completely humiliated and furious, Susan and Margaret storm home, where Uncle Matt uses his psychological skills to convince Susan that she is not really in love with Dickie, and can’t she see that Dickie would be better for Margaret. She agrees and goes to apologize to Margaret. Uncle Matt persuades Margaret to fly away for a short vacation to "forget" Dickie. Unknown to Margaret, however, Matt has spoken to an equally depressed Dickie and knows that he is planning to fly out the next day. At the airport, Matt tricks the police into preventing Tommy from arresting Dickie by telling them that Tommy is a mental patient who believes he is the district attorney, and brings the reluctant lovers together at last where they fly off together.

Oscar
1 Nomination
1 Award
Best Original Screenplay

Golden Globes
0 Nominations
0 Awards
This timeless comedy has always been a classic. Grants ability to act like a teenager is hysterical. Some years later, he would become another teenager in one of my favorite comedies, “Monkey Business” with Ginger Rogers, Charles Coburn and Marilyn Monroe. One of the best scenes is his dialogue with Shirley and Myrna, before they go to the High School picnic in which he is speaks in teenage slang. The famous ‘man with the power’:
Richard Nugent:     Hey, you remind me of a man.
Susan Turner:        What man?
Richard Nugent:     The man with the power.
Susan Turner:        What power?
Richard Nugent:     The power of hoodoo.
Susan Turner:        Hoodoo?
Richard Nugent:     You do.
Susan Turner:        Do what?
Richard Nugent:     Remind me of a man...
I remember walking around trying to get anyone I could to fall for that, and it’s harder than you think!

Cary and Myrna starred in 2 movies together: “Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House” and this one. He once said, “that all the leading men agreed that Myrna was the wife they all wanted.” Myrna started out as the vamp in silents, but her huge break came opposite William Powell in “The Thin Man” which spawned 5 more. They became hollywoods golden couple and made 14 films together. Her comedic timing is parallel to Grant’s and it’s obvious in this and ‘Mr. Blandings’ that they had a great time together.

This was also a breakout role for Shirley Temple. Breaking free of her child image and moving towards young woman roles was not as easy for Hollywood Child Actors. But Shirley garnered great reviews for her role as the lovestruck Susan.

The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer's first great asset is an Academy Award-winning script by Sidney Sheldon who would go on to write the TV hit “I Dream of Jeannie”. Silly as the film's conceit is, Sheldon so packed his script with sharp, snappy dialogue, the actors aren't compelled to linger on funny lines or play them up like punchlines. The laughs unfurl almost continually and seemingly without effort.

The movie is perfectly rounded out by a terrific supporting cast; Ray Collins (who would go on to “Perry Mason” fame), Rudy Vallee, Harry Davenport and Johnny Sands.

Don't let its silly conceit turn you off. “The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer” is a well-written comedy with a quality cast. If you're a fan of Cary Grant and have not seen this movie, it's a definite must.