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The Odd Couple
USA 1968
Directed by Gene Saks
Running time 105 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars


Neil Simon's reasonably amusing hit play about a couple of middle-aged men apartment sharing after their marriages fail doesn't work so well onscreen as essentially it's all words, one set and no action, limitations which the director, Gene Saks, has not managed to overcome. More fundamentally it relies on what is now a very dated image of maleness and its anti-type:  Oscar Madison, a card playing, cigar smoking sports-writing slob versus Felix Ungar, the obsessively-domesticated neurotic. . Even so Jack Lemmon is good as Felix and is ably abetted by Walter Matthau as his shaggy house-mate.

FYI: The film was parlayed into a hit TV series with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall.  Simon penned a follow-up to this which also starred Matthau and Lemmon, was directed by Howard Deutch and released in 1998, which is, by all accounts, a stinker.

 

 

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