Starring: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, John Fielder
Director: Gene Saks
Running Time: 105 mins
The Odd Couple is an American film about two divorced men who share an apartment, but soon realise their terrible mistake as the two have hugely conflicting personalities.
If you’re looking for two hours of simple fun, then The Odd Couple is a great choice. It’s by no means the most riotously funny comedy of all time, nor does it feature a particularly interesting story, but with its lightweight atmosphere, and two fantastic central performances, it’s a film that will leave you satisfied and happy by the end.
I couldn’t really think of anything that was particularly noteworthy about The Odd Couple, apart from the lead performances. Jack Lemmon, as the recently divorced man with an obsession for cleanliness and tidiness, is as brilliant as ever, and he plays so well alongside Walter Matthau, who plays his polar opposite, a man who doesn’t care as much for order, and would rather be living the high life.
The centre of the film is the way that these two friends’ relationship completely falls apart as a result of their living together. On the whole, that’s very entertaining to watch, and with two great actors at the centre that have such good chemistry with one another, you’ll definitely be engaged with the incessant quarrelling that the two get up to.
Away from the central focus of the film, the rest of the humour is pretty good. Again, I didn’t get any big laughs, but it’s a consistently witty and enjoyable comedy, and it’s more than enough to give you an entertaining watch for a couple of hours.
The problem, however, with The Odd Couple is that it’s a very thin film. The lightweight atmosphere may make it a pleasant watch, but the thin story means that this isn’t really the most engrossing film you’ll ever see. Engaging and satisfying yes, but I really felt that there was a lack of something beneath just seeing the two main characters squabble for the duration that could have made this a far more interesting film.
The story is centred around two divorced men, one of whom is still highly distraught after losing his wife and kids. Surely, then, there should be some degree of emotion in the film to make you care for the characters more, and engross you in the story.
The first act does attempt to do this, but it’s a overly long and dragging 30 minute set-up to the main fiasco between the two leads. The emotion there is a little better, but still not enough to make for properly engrossing characters, which does leave this film feeling very thin and lightweight by the end.
Overall, The Odd Couple is a nice, easy comedy with a few good laughs and two brilliant central performances. Its story isn’t great, it’s paced pretty poorly, and it feels a little too lightweight, but if you want a simple comedy to pass the time, then this works just fine, and that’s why it gets a 6.8 from me.