Movie Monday: The Odd Couple 1968
After his wife kicks him out of their squeaky clean house, Felix Unger (Jack Lemmon) can’t stop thinking about jumping out of 12-story windows. Instead of taking the easy way out, the fastidious soon-to-be divorcee moves into the dumpy bachelor pad of of his slobby divorced friend Oscar (Walter Matthau). Hilarity, almost-murders, and lots of marital-style dispute ensues as the two opposites figure out how to make things work between them.
Adapted from Neil Simon’s Broadway play, this story is seamlessly transferred to the big screen with a couple of well-seasoned Hollywood comedians known for their (sometimes) lovable roles as bachelors throughout movie history. Jack Lemmon is a favorite of mine, always nailing each quirky gesture and tick, while Walter Matthau just shines as a sloppy sports writer who has already settled comfortably into the life of a divorced man and who is (at first) eager to help his friend learn the ropes.
Divorce has been a sad, and often traumatic part of American life since the 20th century, so it would stand to reason that comedic writers have often taken the theme and ran with it. Of course nobody really likes to see marriages end, but this screenplay is really just a lighthearted view of a few bumbling men and their relationships with each other, post-marriages. I think more than anything, this movie pokes fun at marital disputes and uses Felix and Oscar’s relationship as the vehicle to do so.
There’s not a lot to the plot, and this one’s certainly not a heavy-hitter, but what a classic comedy with relatable themes that most people will enjoy.