There are many things in life that are meant for each other. Things such as me and my movies or Albert Einstein and science. In cinematic terms, you can add Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon to the list. In terms of pure comedy, the matchups of Matthau and Lemmon over many decades resulted in great comedy films. They are like very close brothers because they have been in so many films together. One such film is The Odd Couple. The movie is based of the smash Broadway hit which was written by Neil Simon. Simon also wrote the screenplay for the film, which is one of the highlights of the films. As older people may remember, the film share many similarities with the Broadway play. The play was directed by Mike Nichols, and it’s been told the two share a sense of similar direction despite this film being directed by Gene Saks. Walter Matthau acted as the character Oscar in both mediums. I’ve also read they even shared the same sets. So basically, this film is the exact same thing as the Broadway play but now it has accessibility to people over the world because it’s a movie.
This film surpassed my rather high expectations I had for the film. Honestly, I’ve never seen any movies with them in it but I heard they are just incredible comedic talents. There wasn’t a moment that go by I was not entertained or laughing. There are times where it feels like a drawn-out television soap opera, and that got a little grating at times. But that is very low criticism. The charms and comedy of Matthau and Lemmon are just too good to miss.
The Odd Couple is about a man named Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon) who is in the state of depression because of his very recent break-up with his life. He was on his way to commit suicide when his best friend Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) intervenes. Oscar offers Felix his home for the temporary being. Felix reluctantly agrees. But the two men are polar opposites when it comes to cleanliness. Oscar lives in a house that a pig would be proud off, while Felix possesses a tidy nature. Those two personalities clash and hijinks ensue between the two friends.
It seems like all I mentioned so far were how good the two leads are. They are great real-life friends, and you can see that by how they work with each other in the movie. They feed off each other very well, and the chemistry alone is worth watching this movie for. Lemmon plays his role as Felix straight, while Matthau’s character is way less serious, as evident of his slobiness. My favorite scene is where Felix decides to clean Oscar’s kitchen much to dis dismay. Felix decides to play the motherly character and cook a hearty meal for Oscar each night instead of his excessive junk-eating he had been doing prior to Felix’s arrival. I also liked the scenes where Oscar decides to take himself and Felix on blind dates with some neighbors. Oscar had some high intentions, but they hilariously backfired on him.
Overall, The Odd Couple is a fine little comedy. It may not be recognized by modern audiences, but it really should be seen. The performances are excellent and Neil Simon’s screenplay is sharp and I love how me makes the contrast between neatness and tidiness a big factor in the relationships of the two men. The film started off pretty serious, but I loved how the tone progressively gotten lighter as the minutes went on. It’s a sharp-written and funny movie, even if there are some mindless soap opera moments.
My Grade: A