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A divorced woman and her daughter come home to find that her boyfriend has left for an out of town job with no warning. This has happened before. The second surprise comes in the form of another actor who has sublet the apartment from her boyfriend (who did not mention the pair of females who would be in residence). After some negotiation the two decide to share the apartment even though she has vowed to stay away from actors. Written by
John Vogel <email@example.com>
Neil Simon is consistent. He loves to use and reuse the "ODD COUPLE" plot with variations in one play or another: in the original ODD COUPLE, it's female version (shown in the early 1990s), the sequel film with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, the play (and movie) THE SUNSHINE BOYS - where the apartment is a lifelong comedy team partnership, and this one. Here it is Marcia Mason and her daughter, Quinn Cummings, who are always being deserted by Mason's husband or her series of boy-friends who usually are actors. Mason has become determined never again to trust or date an actor. But the apartment happens to be in the name of her last boyfriend, and he has made a subletting deal with out-of-town actor Richard Dreyfus. Dreyfus is determined to stay in the apartment while in New York (he is starring in a production within the city - off Broadway). He and Mason gradually agree to cease their hostilities and to share the apartment, but Mason finds Dreyfus weird: he is only eating special food, and he chants and plays the guitar at night. On the other hand Quinn Cummings finds he's not such a bad guy (he helps her when she has a headache, relaxing her to sleep).
The play that Dreyfus is appearing in the lead role in is Shakespeare's RICHARD III. It is being produced by Paul Benedict (a rare big part for that good comic actor), but his ideas about the production are upsetting Dreyfus. Dreyfus is approaching the role in the classical, "Olivier" form - the master, evil Machiavellian monarch. Machiavellian to be sure in Benedict's version, but also gay. As Benedict pushes it, it is the story of "the Queen who would be King". Dreyfus's performance of the play within the film, following Benedict's direction, is an everlasting comic joy.
The highs and lows of the two warring suite mates follows a romantic course, as they gradually fall in love with each other. Will this actor prove to be another one of those typically selfish actors that Mason resents, or will he prove to be different to her and Cummings - will he be the real love of her life?
A first rate comedy, and Dreyfus' Oscar - a well earned one.
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