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JANUARY 17, 2014

THE ODD COUPLE (1968)

There is a reason why Neil Simon’s play THE ODD COUPLE is considered his best. Simply put, it contains one of the most brilliant story premises to hit the stage and some of the funniest dialogue ever written. Having Simon adapt his play for the screen along with the brilliant casting of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau for the key roles creates screen magic and film history. 


Felix Unger (Jack Lemmon) is thrown out of his house and soon to be divorced. His group of friends lead by Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau) are concerned that he might try to kill himself, so Oscar, also on the verge of a divorce, invites him to stay at his apartment until he gets his life together. 


Unfortunately Felix and Oscar couldn’t be anymore opposite if they tried. Felix is near OCD when it comes to tidiness and order while Oscar is slovenly and chaotic. After just a few days they are at each other’s throats escalating to an untenable situation for both. 


This is high screwball comedy but in Simon’s deft hands it has a definite layer of pathos that is never lost or squandered. Lemmon and Matthau are at their best and their onscreen chemistry is unforgettable. 


The play and film became such a sensation that it spawned a long running TV sitcom with Tony Randall and Jack Klugman taking over the roles of Felix and Oscar. 


There’s really nothing bad to say about this film. It’s fun and entertaining from start to finish. Just keep in mind that if you were raised only on contemporary film comedies that THE ODD COUPLE is of a different time and you may have to adjust your sensibilities. But there is a reason why this is a classic and this is a MUST SEE MOVIE for any fan of comedy.