DVD night: The Odd Couple

Friday night's viewing from our Amazon DVD rental account was this old classic:

It was one of Lorna's choices, even though she has absolutely no idea what made her chose it. (Her question of "why did you pick this?" is up there with "Who sent you that?", as she pointed at a postcard she'd sent me less than a week before…)

Whatever the reason, I was looking forward to it. The Odd Couple is regarded as a comedy classic, and it lurked somewhere in my brain as a "movie to see".

And you can see why the movie (and the play it is really obviously adapted from) has been so popular. The performances are really excellent. Matthau starts off as disgusting and unlovable, but wins your sympathy as the feel goes on. Lemmon charts the reverse journey. The supporting cast are good, even the ghastly Pigeon sisters from London, and the film, while wearing its stage roots on its sleeve, makes a reasonable transition to celluloid.

But, nearly 40 years on, the whole concept has lost its bite. Men leaving together just doesn't seem so strange any more, and the obsessed housewife role adopted by Jack Lemmon's character seems an oddly-conceived and slightly offensive mix of female, gay man and OCD sufferer stereotype.

There's some moments of real wit in the dialogue and the relationship between the two main leads is often compelling. But, in the end, the societal mores being explored in the movie are becoming so alien to us today that it just doesn't have the power it did in the 60s.

Published by Adam Tinworth

I create stuff for the interwebs

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