Once a young Deanna Durbin burst onto movie screens across America in "Three Smart Girls," saving Universal from bankruptcy, there was never any doubt that producer Joe Pasternak and director Henry Koster would bring the wonderful cast back for another go. In some ways, "Three Smart Girls Grow Up" is even more enjoyable than the original. The story is still innocent and fun-filled, but a bit less juvenile. And the three girls, Durbin, Nan Grey, and Helen Parrish, while still retaining the innocence of the time in which this film was made, have some fine moments opposite a great cast.
Part of the reason for this film's success is Charles Winninger. He is simply delightful as the father of three young women of assorted ages a bit too caught up providing a lavish lifestyle for them to see all the romantic drama going on right under his nose. At Penny's (Deanna Durbin) coming out party, her oldest sister Joan gets engaged to Richard (William Lundigan). Penny senses something wrong, however, and when she discovers her sister Kay (Helen Parrish) in tears, burning a diary that confesses her love for Richard, she takes Binn's (Ernest Cossart) advice and attempts to play matchmaker.
Tall, dark and handsome in this case turns out to be the flute player from her singing class, Harry (Robert Cummings). Cummings, as usual, especially opposite Deanna Durbin, is fuuny and fabulous. Everything goes wrong, of course, and the more complicated and confusing it gets, the more Durbin and Cummings shine. Harry immediately hits it off with the already engaged Joan, rather than Kay, then everyone believes it's Penny who is in love with him!
Penny can't scheme fast enough to get all the matchmaking right for the sisters she loves, and only on the eve of Joan's wedding to Richard does a busy father finally realize something is terribly wrong and listens to the distraught apple of his eye. But with Harry on his way to Australia and Joan about to walk down the isle with the young man Kay secretly loves, will it be too late?
It's a ton of fun getting there and the viewer is rewarded with an ending that's a sheer delight. Along the way a blooming Deanna Durbin gets to sing "Because" and the beautiful "Last Rose of Summer." Durbin fans don't want to miss this one!