The Odd Couple Review
The Odd Couple is a 1968 comedy film directed by Gene Saks and starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. It received both critical and audience praise and I totally agree as it is a wonderful movie.
It is about two divorced men, a neat neurotic and a slob, who decide to live together besides being totally different from one another. It is a perfect clash of personalities story done right with a lot of terrific humor from start to finish. The characters are superb, they all are, but the two leads are magnificent. Felix is a very lovable sad, nervous man whereas Oscar is the polar opposite, fun and relaxed. Both are really realistically portrayed and both are extremely likable characters. Their quarrels are the most hilarious parts of the movie and their evident care for one another lends to many heartwarming moments.
The acting is just phenomenal. Jack Lemmon once again proves here that he is one the greats and that he is perfect in these types of roles. He so realistically portrays a neat-freak and a neurotic hypochondriac that you buy his character the whole time. He is one of the standouts in The Odd Couple in my opinion. But Walter Matthau isn’t bad himself. He is actually superb in his role as well and both actors drive this movie. It really is a wonderfully acted film.
Now, the humor. It is fantastic across the board. This is the kind of mild and clever humor that the classics did wonderfully. The highlights are of course Lemmon and Matthau and their counteracting behavior and troubled relationship provided many excellent laughs. But the so-called Pigeon sisters are also really funny and the scenes with them are hilarious as well. The funniest parts in this movie are in the second half when all the characters and situation is established. That’s when the movie really kicks off and it has so many hilarious moments accompanied with clever dialogue and great delivery.
The chemistry is one of those underrated aspects of the movie that anyone rarely talks about, but The Odd Couple is one of the best comedies regarding that chemistry. The two actors are just a perfect match and they wonderfully work together and you can really see that they fit with each other which is why the movie is so good and thankfully so as it was essential for the story in which their relationship is at the center.
The editing in this movie is mostly quite deft and the pacing is polished with never a dull or rushed scene. The dialogue is terrific, it really is very smart and filled with so many hilarious lines perfectly executed. The script is familiar, you can say, but it is so well done and so professionally put together that it is entertaining and just fun from beginning to end. It is also very well adapted for the big screen. The tone is also well done and the movie has a lot of heart which is evident in some earlier as well as the last moments which are so heartwarming and charming.
As for the flaws, there aren’t many here as it is so good. But there are a couple of problems that bothered me a bit. First is the direction. It is too theatrical and it just does not feel like a movie at times which is due to the director’s theatre background. Also, the movie is unrealistic at certain times, depicting the characters’ relationship too much like a marriage. But the biggest problem to me was the first act as it was so slow and dragged and just boring when compared to the rest of this stellar film. But those are just minor flaws that do not take away from the enjoyment of the film.