The fly in the ointment is Gable's second wife Ria. MGM executive Louis B. Mayer fears any publicity about his affair with Lombard will jeopardize Gable's career, and since he's the studio's most valuable player, Mayer becomes protective of his star. Gable and Lombard fish, play practical jokes on each other, laugh, fight, and have fun making up. His wife finally grants him a divorce, and the two wed. As the viewer knows from the very start, living happily ever after is not to be their fate, and Lombard is killed in a plane crash while promoting the purchase of defense bonds during World War II.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times described the film as a "mushy, old-fashioned extravaganza" and added, "there are so many dumb practical jokes and would-be risque innuendoes that any concern for [Gable and Lombard's] real thoughts and feelings is lost. So we don't get a notion of their private lives, and we don't even remotely learn from this movie what made them great stars and personalities."
Variety called it "a film with many major assets, not the least of which is the stunning and smashing performance of Jill Clayburgh as Carole Lombard. James Brolin manages excellently to project the necessary Clark Gable attributes while adding his own individuality to the characterization . . . [the film] is candid without being prurient; delightful without being superficially glossy; heart-warming without being corny."
Time Out London says, "The film seems as insulated and remote from the real Hollywood as Hollywood vehicles of the time were from the real world. Allen Garfield does a reasonable turn as Louis Mayer, but Brolin is a wax dummy and Clayburgh produces a very modern version of the Lombard larkishness."
TV Guide awarded it one out of a possible four stars, calling it "a cardboard retelling of the Clark Gable-Carol Lombard romance and marriage . . . Clayburgh as Lombard is adequate, but Brolin has none of the charisma that made Gable a premier screen idol. The major problem is the superficial script."