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"The Odd Couple" — (Bullz-Eye DVD Review)

April 13, 2009


The word “bromance” wouldn’t even be coined for another 42 years back in 1966, when playwright Neil Simon first presented his classic play about two mismatched best friends sharing an apartment in the wake of failed marriages. The 1968 film version is pretty unremarkable as pure filmmaking, but it is still a classic of sorts and very much the father of the long list of buddy comedies that followed. Male friendships were certainly nothing new in movies in 1968, but this was the first mainstream American film that I know of to actually be overtly about a male friendship. Young Seth and Evan of “Superbad” may owe their very existence to Felix and Oscar.

Unless you’re very young or very comedy challenged, you probably know the ingeniously simple premise of “The Odd Couple,” but here goes anyway: Felix Ungar (Jack Lemmon), a super-tidy, hypochondriacal family man, is thrown out by his wife of 12 years. Nearly suicidal and utterly alone, he is taken in by his poker buddy and best friend, Oscar Madison (Walter Matthau), an already divorced Manhattan sports writer with numerous bad habits, including being a complete and total slob, but blessed with an extremely large apartment that is still two small for the both of them. The result is the kind of great pain that also equals great hilarity.

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