Merrily We Live is a blatant imitation of My Man Godfrey, courtesy of producer Hal Roach. This time Brian Aherne is the gentleman vagabond whom flighty society matron Billie Burke hires as a butler. Aherne's down-to-earth attitude jars against the high-toned phoniness of Burke's wealthy household, but soon the butler has "humanized" everyone around him. He also falls in love with Burke's daughter Constance Bennett, the snootiest member of the family. While at least one prominent film historian has applauded Merrily We Live for avoiding the muddled political subtext of My Man Godfrey, critics in 1938 were less politely inclined, blasting Merrily for being so unabashed a carbon copy. Audiences, on the other hand, loved the film, and Merrily We Live was a success.
~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide