During a high profile Mafia testimony case in California's Riverside County, a hired killer checks-in a hotel room near the courthouse while his next door depressed neighbor wants to commit suicide due to marital problems.
Walter Matthau plays a professional killer going by the name of Trabucco, who is on his way to rub out gangster Rudy "Disco" Gambola, set to testify against the mob. As Trabucco heads off to a hotel across the street from the courthouse where he plans to set his hit, he runs into the depressed Victor Clooney, who laments the fact that his wife has left him for the head of a weird Californian sex clinic. Trabucco keeps walking and sets up his rifle in a hotel room. He is disturbed by Victor trying to hang himself in the adjoining hotel room and tries to prevent him from killing himself by restraining him, but Victor breaks loose and climbs onto the ledge of the hotel window. To get Victor to come back in, he agrees to drive him to the clinic to see his wife. The two go to the clinic where Victor's wife Celia informs Victor that she is in love in the head of the clinic, quack Dr. Zuckerbrot. When Victor finds out that Celia is filing for divorce, he heads back to the hotel to kill ... Written by
"You know what your problem is, Victor? You should've been born a man!"
Jack Lemmon does some very funny over-playing as a suicidal man in a southern California hotel who makes friends with his neighbor, a grouchy hit-man on the verge of retiring after one last job, but the picture is botch. American remake of the 1973 French-Italian black comedy "L'emmerdeu" ("A Pain in the Ass") re-teams Lemmon and co-star Walter Matthau with director and co-writer Billy Wilder, but results aren't even sporadically funny. Wilder's witless script (with writing pal I.A.L. Diamond) is a wet noodle: there's no snap, just caustic flapping and nagging. This is also one of worst-looking major studio films of the 1980s, with lemon meringue color and cheap process shots. Matthau, constantly opening-closing-and-reopening his suitcase, looks terrible throughout; with his hair dyed too black and the color of his skin a sickly white pallor, he resembles a waxwork figure. Lemmon sticks close to his proved formula--his nervous/neurotic Lemmon-isms--and survives the morass, but everyone else in the cast has been prodded to play these gross jokes to the hilt. It's a pushy, ugly piece of work. *1/2 from ****
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