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Daniel J. Sullivan
Neil Simon wrote this updated version of his 1972 Broadway play about a film agent's efforts to recombine the once famous comedy pair Lewis and Clark, played by Woody Allen and Peter Falk. Written by
Kunal Taravade <firstname.lastname@example.org>
One of three 1996 Neil Simon adaptations made for television and first broadcast in that year. The others were Jake's Women (1996) and London Suite (1996). All were made for production houses Hallmark Entertainment and Metropolitan Productions. See more »
Simon reworking Simon...this time, it almost works
Neil Simon's cantankerous comedy about old show-biz team of Lewis and Clark reuniting in the modern day for one more performance--and picking up right where they left off, by arguing--didn't quite work in 1975, despite lots of acclaim. Walter Matthau was ill-suited for the larger role of Willie Clark, though it did give us the return of George Burns as Al Lewis, for which he nabbed a Supporting Oscar. Simon has tweaked the material for this TV-made remake, peppering the dialogue exchanges with some modern references (which don't really work) and changing Clark's nephew to a niece (which does). Peter Falk plays Willie Clark this time, and though Falk isn't naturally a comedian (and his Jewish lapses into Yiddish), he holds his own with Simon's hit-or-miss rhythm and wrings some laughs out of the outrageous arguments. Woody Allen's performance as Al Lewis is even better; Allen doesn't bicker so much as search for logic in the illogical, and this coupled with some very funny lines results in a surprisingly successful bit of casting (who would've thought we'd ever see Woody Allen performing Neil Simon!). Sarah Jessica Parker is terrific as well playing Clark's level-headed relative and agent, hoping for a miracle in bringing these two together again--though sweetly resigned to the fact it may never happen. Good production values (except for some bad lighting), a smooth pace and a satisfying finish; this one is more enjoyable than the theatrical feature simply due to the casting. Falk and Allen would appear not to be convincing as a former comedy duo from the 1960s, and yet they nearly pull it off.
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