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The Odd Couple
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The Odd Couple More at IMDbPro »

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25 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

One of my all-time favorites plus one of the quintessential comedy pairings of 20th century

Author: policy134 from Denmark
5 June 2006

I simply can't get over how brilliant the pairing of Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon is. It's like the movie doesn't even need additional characters because you can never get tired of the dialog between these two.

Lemmon had already been in several well-known films like Mr. Roberts and The Apartment and Matthau was fresh off his Oscar win for The Fortune Cookie (another Billy Wilder film also with Lemmon). That particular movie wasn't as great as this one because the story couldn't sustain such a long running time (I think it was almost 2 hours). However, this goes by at a brisk hour and a half, even though the introduction of the events leading up to Lemmon ending up at Matthau's apartment is a tad long (so was this sentence). That's a minor quibble though and for the rest of the running time you have a marvelous time.

I have already written a comment about how the follow-up to this film sucked and I won't go deeper into that. The reason why this is such a joy is probably that the movie was made just as the innocence of American movies was beginning to fade fast into oblivion. There are some sexual references but they are dealt with in such an innocent way that you couldn't even get a "Well, I never..." out of the most prudish person out there. It is kind of fun to see a movie from a long lost era and that was probably why the sequel didn't work because you had Matthau and Lemmon say quite a few f-words and that just doesn't fit them.

Of course, now they are both gone and you can just be happy that you still can enjoy them in a marvelous film like this. I think the only male actor in this film who is still alive is John Fiedler. Edelman died recently. So there you have it. Simply one of the best comedies and films ever.

Add: I have just learned recently that John Fiedler has died so to all the fans of him I am deeply sorry. I didn't mean any disrespect and I will try to be more careful of what I am blah blah blahing next time.

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32 out of 45 people found the following review useful:

The one that started it all...

Author: MovieAddict2016 from UK
3 December 2003

Buddy comedies always come down to two things: actors and their scripts. "The Odd Couple" works because it has two endearing characters and an often hilarious and always down-to-earth script, making it one of the best odd couple films of all time -- inspiring but not surpassing movies that share its genre, such as John Hughes' "Planes, Trains and Automobiles" (1987) and Martin Brest's "Midnight Run" (1988). And, in some ways, even Barry Levinson's "Rain Man" (1988), a more dramatic buddy comedy that nevertheless takes a lot of pointers from this one.

Plots always help buddy comedies, of course, but it really depends on whether the two actors -- when confined to a solitary confinement -- can interact and make the audience laugh. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, two legendary screen comedians, can do just that. Their comedic chemistry in this film has often been mimicked by other rip-offs, such as "Grumpy Old Men." But this remains their ultimate combined-effort comedy.

This is the type of movie that is often referenced as the pinnacle buddy movie. Sure, it may not be the best, but it did inspire the entire odd couple genre, and I would definitely place it in the top five buddy comedies list if I ever made such a thing.

Felix (Jack Lemmon) has just been left by his wife, and so he goes to live with long-time poker pal Oscar (Walter Matthau), a grumpy and filthy slob who is the exact opposite of Felix, an uptight orderly man with a fetish for cleaning. In fact, he does just that in Oscar's apartment, which drives Oscar to the point of ultimate frustration. If these guys can't get along much longer, they'll just have to move along and forget their friendship. But things don't always turn out the way they appear.

Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple" is full of inspired lunacy. It has some truly hilarious moments with great gags and interaction between its two lead stars, whose screen chemistry is undeniable -- there's a reason Hollywood paired Lemmon and Matthau together an uncountable number of times.

The film is lacking the humanity and sorrow of its characters that shines through in "Planes, Trains and Automobiles"; there are few -- if any -- moments where the characters become so frustrated with each other that they blow up and then realize that they're not exactly how they thought. Remember the scene in the motel when Neal Page (Steve Martin) lashed out against Del Griffith (John Candy)? But after the comedy tirade ended, and as we laughed, the film took an unexpected turn when it revealed the Del character's utter hurt inside. Then we stopped laughing and we started crying.

That's lacking in "The Odd Couple," making it inferior to Hughes' comedy masterpiece, but it's a clever little film that inspired it all. Perhaps the best gag in the entire movie is one that was quite controversial at the time: Oscar finds a note next to his bed from Felix that says they're out of cereal, and the last two letters of the note are, "F U." Of course, the two letters "F U" are Felix Ungar's initials, but as Oscar implies, just imagine what he thought it meant when he first read the note.

I love comedies where you lock down a small number of people -- preferably a pair of opposites -- in a room and let their characters take over. I like when the dialogue is rich and funny and so very real. I guess I just like subtle character comedies -- overblown special effects comedies aren't always favorites of mine. "Dumb and Dumber" is one of my favorite buddy comedies, and it's not because it's crude or silly but because I like the pairing of its two stars, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, and I like the situations they get into.

"The Odd Couple" (based on the stage play by Simon) is the odd comedy that puts a smile on your face and delights the viewer. It's a fun movie, a great comedy, one of the finest and arguably the most acknowledged buddy film of all time. I saw it years ago and I've been laughing ever since. And despite its inferiority to some of the other buddy films that followed in its path, "The Odd Couple" is a delightful character comedy that will inspire similar comedies for years to come. Lord knows it already has.


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16 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Lemmon and Matthau create an awesome partnership

Author: TheNorthernMonkee from Manchester
17 June 2004

*** This review may contain spoilers ***


In the words of Jean-Paul Sartre, "Hell is other people". In "The Odd Couple", Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau demonstrate just how accurate this can be. As Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison, Lemmon and Matthau respectively create two good friends who decide to live together. As the two begin to slowly grow more and more frustrated with each other, the laughs come thick and fast, before Felix departs, leaving Oscar a changed and more cleanly individual.

Jack Lemmon as Ungar is absolutely superb as the neurotic, cleaning obsessed divorcee coping with life as a single man. Walter Matthau in contrast to Lemmon's character is equally as good as the slobbish sports writer who simply wants to play poker to earn money for his child benefits.

Lemmon and Matthau are magnificant in their selected parts, to some degree dependent upon the beautiful script by Neil Simon, and simultaneously because they work well as a team. As two friends who are inherently different in lifestyles, although similar in relationships with ex-wives and children, these two, late, great actors create a partnership which is practically impossible to recreate. So great in fact, that the world screamed out so much for something similar, that two years before Matthau's death and three before Lemmon's, the characters were reunited in an inferior sequel. This idea, whilst following Hollywood's irritating obsession with sequels, might have worked to a certain degree, but at the same time, it could never come close to replicating the genius of this original film.

Ultimately it's not really possible to say anything else. With Simon's amazing script, filled with humour and laughter, the creators of this film were already onto a hit. The casting of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau as Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison though, is the most important part of this film. "The Odd Couple", with it's traditional soundtrack (which even gained a tribute in "The Simpsons"), it's excellent script and it's genius leading men, is a tribute to cinema and a feature for history to remember.

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18 out of 22 people found the following review useful:

my long-time favorite

Author: dr_foreman from Brooklyn, NY
23 January 2004

"The Odd Couple" is one of those movies that far surpasses its reputation. People all know it, they hum the theme song, they complain of living with a sloppy "Oscar" or a fastidious "Felix"...but they're under-selling the film without knowing it. This isn't just about a neat guy living with a sloppy guy; it's a portrait of two friends helping each other through the agony of divorce. It's also damn funny from start to finish, but it's the kind of comedy that arises from realistic, stressful, and just plain awful situations. So, some viewers have actually found the film to be a bit uncomfortable, but I think its verisimilitude is its strength. Besides, Matthau's bulldog face just cracks me up! My favorite comedy, by a country mile.

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20 out of 27 people found the following review useful:

One of the most beautiful comedies

Author: Ingo Gärtner ( from Aarau, Switzerland
23 November 1999

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This cordial comedy confronts a few bizarre characters. Especially, of course, the two leading characters. Jack Lemmon plays Felix, a hypochondriac whose wife lost him because she couldn't stand his cleaning and cooking attacks any longer. So he tries to kill himself but every attempt fails. Walter Matthau plays Oscar, his friend, an untidy, unreliable sports-reporter who lives in divorce from his ex-wife in a bachelor apartment. He offers his distressed friend Felix a new home in his apartment. And soon the trouble begins because two such contrary characters can't live together for a long time. Felix turns Oscar's disorderly flat into a clean exhibition flat. He cleans and cooks the whole time. After a short while, Oscar feels persecution mania ... Filmed in a theatrical way and excellent acted. Above all, Jack Lemmon's play is wonderful. He is the perfect clown. He makes us laugh but in a tragi-comic way. Look for the wonderful scene when both men invite their two female neighbours for supper, because Oscar has to touch something more softer than a bowling-ball. While he is preparing the drinks, Felix sits with the two young ladies in the living-room. To get out of this embarrassing situation, he starts to talk about the weather. A minute later, he changes the subject and talks about his ex-wife and children. Suddenly he begins to weep and when Oscar comes back with the drinks, there are three weeping people in the living-room. The film is full of such amusing and at the same time touching scenes. An intelligent, entertaining comedy with much heart. 10 out of 10!

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22 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Comedy as it should be....

Author: marcoschwartz ( from madrid
1 December 2001

I have seen this film many times and I like all bad teachers want to give it ten out of ten but feel that it would be unfair to other good films. However, I do think that this is one of those rare gems: a perfect comedy. It is I would venture one of the greatest comic films of all times. Matthau and Lemmon are perfectly matched and mismatched. The script is so sharp that you need to staunch the bleeding. The story is well known and has already been described in other comments. The two leads give extraordinary performances, the girls are superb and the situations are side-splittingly funny. Not one swear-word in sight (mark that Hollywood, you don't have to swear to be funny, you have to be witty) and the move from stage to film is seamless. They don't make'em like this any more. Timeless.

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15 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

When Fussy Felix Met Untidy Oscar

Author: ShadeGrenade from Ambrosia
19 September 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

A man ( Jack Lemmon ) intending to commit suicide books into a seedy hotel room. His name is Felix Ungar. After straining his back trying to open a window, he goes to a strip club, and from there on to the apartment of his friend Oscar Madison ( Walter Matthau ). A poker game is in session. Oscar and his friends have heard that Felix's wife Frances threw him out, and try to prevent him from doing away with himself. Felix moves in and the two men - who are of diametrically opposed personalities - drive each other nuts. Oscar is one of Nature's slobs, while Felix is tidy to the point of obsession. He is also a hypochondriac, forever complaining of sinus trouble. They are bound to drive one another mad in the end, and do...

Based on the stage play by Neil Simon, 'The Odd Couple' has not been opened out much for the big screen, and that's one of its strengths. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon are brilliant as Oscar and Felix, and the supporting cast are wonderful, particularly John Fielder as 'Vinnie'. Cute Monica Evans and Carole Shelley giggle their way through the film as 'Cecily and 'Gwendolyn' - the cuckoo 'Pigeon' sisters who live upstairs, and whom Felix later moves in with ( lucky guy ).

Even now after all these years, certain moments can reduce me to tears of laughter - Felix interrupting Oscar in the middle of a ball game with a dinner request, Oscar cracking up and chasing Felix around the apartment, the Pigeon Sisters brought low by Felix's sob stories, and of course, the legendary cafeteria scene ( later ripped off by Nora Ephron's 'When Harry Met Sally' ). Razor-sharp dialogue too. When the boys think Felix has taken an overdose, Oscar says: "They could be vitamins! He could be the healthiest one in the room!".

Neal Hefti's theme will be going round in her head for days after you see this.

Later spun off into a long-running television series starring Tony Randall as 'Felix' and Jack Klugman as 'Oscar', with Evans and Shelley reprising their movie roles.

In 1998, 'The Odd Couple 2' appeared. It had its moments but could not compete with the original.

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8 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

"I'm a neurotic nut, but you're crazy"

Author: ackstasis from Australia
26 September 2008

I don't think I've really ever given Walter Matthau his due as a comedic performer. He's certainly been wonderful in plenty of lighthearted roles, but I guess I always put his success down to his characters' grumpiness and ruthlessness, a gruff contrast to the flamboyant personality of his frequent co-star Jack Lemmon, and, I suppose, a natural extension of his earlier work in dramatic pictures. Watching Gene Saks' 'The Odd Couple (1968),' adapted from a popular Neil Simon play, the realisation suddenly clicked: Matthau is, in his own right, absolutely hilarious! Initially striking the audience as filthy, crude and generally unappealing, his Oscar Madison eventually manages to worm his way into our hearts, culminating in a hilariously overplayed confession of emotions that Matthau rasps out in a voice not entirely his own. At the same time, while holding his own as a comedian, his interplay with Lemmon is, of course, pitch-perfect; indeed, the film rightly belongs to both actors, who have never failed to light up the cinema screen by themselves, let alone together.

Calling to mind Billy Wilder's screenplay for 'The Apartment (1960),' this Neil Simon comedy builds itself around around a rather morbid premise. Compulsive house-cleaner Felix Unger (Lemmon), having just been evicted by his wife of twelve years, attempts to commit suicide, but fruitlessly abandons the idea after he wrecks his back trying to open the hotel window. Dejected, he arrives at the house of good friend Oscar (Matthau), a divorced slob who lives alone on a diet of potato crisps and green sandwiches (that might contain either very new cheese or very old meat!). Oscar kindly offers Felix a place to stay, but is soon overwhelmed by his friend's finicky personality and constant insistence on absolute cleanliness. The pair form an unusual sort of marital arrangement, with Felix assuming the role of the effeminate and constantly-nagging wife, and Oscar as the sloppy, unappreciative husband who always comes home later than he's supposed to. This is a marriage that barely lasts three weeks, and, by the end of it, we can completely sympathise with Felix's ex-wife, who remains unseen.

'The Odd Couple' is a terrific comedy, most of all because it has a lot of heart. For all their arguing, it's obvious that the two roommates have plenty of affection for each other, most movingly seen when Felix tries to launch into a furious tirade, instead – perhaps inadvertently – ending up informing Oscar how "tops" he his. The pair's four poker buddies (John Fiedler, Herb Edelman, David Sheiner and Larry Haines) are also constantly badgering each other about some obscure annoyance, but you can't deny that they've got the best of intentions. Their decision to treat Felix as though nothing has happened to him may have sounded fine in theory, but maybe being ignored wasn't quite the correct solution to Felix's gloomy feelings of inadequacy and inconsequentiality. Unlike some comedies based on popular stage plays {I was recently disappointed by Wilder's 'The Seven Year Itch (1955)}, this film doesn't simply strike at the same chord throughout, and the relationship between the two leads is progressively developed, through tears, laughter and much disagreement.

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16 out of 24 people found the following review useful:

The Odd Couple

Author: Tim Cox from Marietta, OH
23 March 1999

Simon's best comedy is superbly crafted by director Gene Saks and given life by the immense talents of Lemmon and Matthau. No one delivers these lines better. No one times them better. Nobody does it better.

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11 out of 15 people found the following review useful:

The Odd Couple is a comic gem

Author: faraaj-1 ( from Sydney, Australia
23 July 2006

The Odd Couple is a comic gem. One the funniest script ever committed to celluloid - exceeded only by Strangelove, Spinal Tap and Lebowski! Lemmon and Matthau are best friends: obsessive compulsive Felix and sloppy, irresponsible Oscar. Oscar's wife has already left him because he is impossible to live with due to his irresponsible attitude. Felix's wife leaves him at the start of the movie, and after an aborted suicide attempt he moves in with poker buddy Oscar. Thats when the fun begins.

The entire script is brilliant and filled with brilliant one-liners. You are probably already familiar with the "F.U." joke but it still works brilliantly due to Matthau's comic timing.

My favorite moments are when Lemmon tries to clear his sinus in the diner and when the Pigeon sisters are being charmed by a very suave Matthau and Lemmon is totally out of his element. This one requires repeat viewings!

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