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THE ODD COUPLE, 1968
Movie Review

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THE ODD COUPLE, 1968
Movie Review
Directed by Gen Saks
Starring: Walther Matthau, Jack Lemmon
Review by Stefan Adamsson



SYNOPSIS:

Two divorced men, odd as night and day, are trying to share an apartment together.

Nominated for 2 OSCARS:

Best Film Editing: Frank Bracht

Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium: Neil Simon

REVIEW:

Wow!

This is a movie I recommend every single person to watch. More well written, funny, sad, warm and hilarious comedy is hard to come by. This is Walther Matthau and Jack Lemmon at their very best.

They are portraying Felix and Oscar. Two divorced men, trapped together in a huge pad in New York. Felix (Lemmon) is an obsessive compulsive clean freak and Oscar (Matthau) is a sloppy, dirty lay-about who can turn everything into a mess like the shape of a tornado. The story of how these two odd characters try to share an apartment together is mind-blowing.

The acting is not so much about acting in this movie. It’s more about a comic interplay between Lemmon and Matthau. Matthau owns the whole movie and once again he proves he’s the master of one-liners.

The movie starts with Felix, which has been kicked out by his wife, checking in at a dingy hotel, trying to commit suicide by jumping out the window. Unable to open the window he pulls a muscle in his back and then tries to get drunk instead. He knocks a drink down and pulls another muscle. In pain and misery he staggers home to his friend Oscar who’s having a late night poker game where the food he provides contains either brown or green sandwiches. In the words of Oscar, the green sandwiches could be either very old meat or very new cheese.

It is in Oscar’s apartment that the major part of the rest of the movie is set. This is pure theatre with perfect choreography and punctuality. The little dance that Oscar is doing to prove the point that it is his apartment is on the spot. You can just stand up and applause him. Lemmon has his own moment as well in the superb “Fnaa”-scene in the coffee shop.

Felix obsessive compulsive cleanliness is close to insanity, and Oscar’s sloppiness is just too much. They both know it. They nag on each other like an old married couple.

Neil Simon wrote the screenplay adapted from his own stage play, in which Matthau portrayed the sloppy Oscar as well. Art Carney did the role of Felix on stage, but the studio didn’t think he had enough box office punch for the movie so they asked Jack Lemmon instead. Lemmon and Matthau had worked together in the critically and audience acclaimed Fortune Cookie a couple of years earlier. As said, it couldn’t have been better. Lemmon and Matthau is the ultimate comedy couple.

The film contains the funniest sequences in film history. From the opening poker game to the double date with the “pigeon Sisters”. Every word and every improvisation is perfect in to the smallest detail.

Oscar and Felix are as odd as chalk and cheese whose fighting and nagging as much as anything else, but underneath the surface lays a true friendship that nothing can change. Even if they feel like they could kill each other one second, they can forgive the next.

This is a true feel good flick that you can watch over and over again.

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