There is something comforting and familiar about seeing the same actors pairing up again and again on-screen. But, the question begs, will the movie hold up to the reputation of its lead actors?
In the 1997 movie, Out To Sea, Charlie Gordon (Walther Matthau), a failed gambler, convinces his late sister’s widower, Herb Sullivan (Jack Lemmon) to join him on an all expenses paid cruise. The goal is to catch the eye of a lonely and wealthy widow. The only problem in this plan is that Charlie and Herb are not on vacation, they are working as dance hosts. But the cruise director, Gil Godwyn (Brent Spiner) is onto them. Will the plan work or will Herb and Charlie be well, out to sea?
I have mixed feelings about this film. While it relies heavily on the old Odd Couple jokes, I feel like it was the same jokes and the same narrative as we’ve seen before with this pairing. How many times can Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon play a version of Oscar and Felix? While it’s funny, it’s not as good as their previous on-screen pairings. Do I recommend it?
There is something about a long time friendship. After decades of being around each other, there is a short hand that exists between the two friends. Nothing can tear them apart….until someone new and attractive moves into the neighborhood.
In Grumpy Old Men (1993), John Gustafson (Jack Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Walter Matthau) have been frienemies since boyhood. Their relationship alters when a new female neighbor, Ariel Truax (Ann-Margaret) moves to town.
This movie is incredibly funny. The decades long relationship and chemistry that Lemmon and Matthau have is tangible on screen. Revisiting her screen idol goddess past, Ann-Margaret is funny, charming and age appropriate for her two leading men.
Two years later in 1995, Grumpier Old Men revisited John and Max. John and Ariel are married. The town bait shop has been closed. A new owner, Maria Ragetti (Sophia Loren) buys the bait shop and plans to turn into an Italian restaurant. But John and Max will do anything to keep the bait shop as is. While John is happy to play along with Max’s plan, Max finds that he is attracted to Maria.
The addition of Sophia Loren to this cast is the icing on the cake. The antagonistic love/hate relationship between Loren and Matthau is incredibly funny.
I recommend both movies.
It is said that until you walk a mile in another’s shoes, you can never truly understand them. To slightly alter that statement, one might be able to say that until a man walks a mile in a woman’s high heels, he can never truly understand her. This brings me to the topic of this Throwback Thursday post.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Joe (Tony Curtis) and Jerry (Jack Lemmon) are musicians who unexpectedly become witnesses to the St. Valentines Day Massacre. The only way to hide is to join an all girl band heading to Florida. Reinventing themselves as Josephine and Daphne, they meet Sugar (Marilyn Monroe), the ukulele player in the band. Things become even more complicated when Joe reinvents himself again as a millionaire to woo Sugar and Jerry finds himself being wooed by an older man who doesn’t know that she is really a he. At the same time, the gangster who is pursuing Joe and Jerry is vacationing at the same hotel with his cronies.
In it’s own time, this movie was considered racy and controversial. Now we know that it is a comedy classic.
Michael Dorsey (Dustin Hoffman) is trying to make it as a working actor in New York. But his difficult reputation precedes him. Resorting to creative measures, Michael transforms himself into Dorothy Michaels, a soap opera actress. His goal is to earn a living and be able to fund his friend’s play. What he doesn’t know that his dual identities will become problematic when he falls for his co-star Julie (Jessica Lange) and has to find ways to hide his new identity from his friends. More than twenty years after Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon put on makeup and high heels, Dustin Hoffman takes the men in drag to a new level. What is surprising to the audience and Michael, is that he becomes an accidental feminist. Michael, as Dorothy, refuses to cowtow to her male bosses and her character’s male colleagues.
This movie is almost 32 years old. It is as fresh and funny as it was when it premiered in December of 1982.
I recommend both.