In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_heaven_is_for_real

Heaven Is for Real

Faith-based film tries reaching past its audience, but falls back on preaching to its own choir way too much.

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Blog Archives
Other Articles
Far Flunger Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives

Reviews

Buddy Buddy

  |  

This movie is appalling. It made me want to rub my eyes. Was it possible that the great Billy Wilder, whose credits include such sublime comedies as “Some Like It Hot” and such unforgettable satirical dramas as “Sunset Blvd.,” could possibly have made a film this bad? 

“Buddy Buddy” is very bad. It is a comedy without any laughs. (And, yes, I mean literally that it contains no laughs.) But it is worse than that. It succeeds in reducing two of the most charming actors in American motion picture history to unlikable ciphers. Can you imagine a film that co-stars Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon and yet contains no charm, ebullience, wit, charisma even friendliness? This whole movie is like one of those pathetic Hollywood monsters drained of its life fluids. The plot is simple and is developed at redundant length. A grouchy old Mafia hit man (Matthau) is knocking off a series of witnesses. As the film opens, he disguises himself as a mailman and plants a bomb in a mailbox. It is one of those rural-style mailboxes with a red flag that snaps up, and it looks a little strange out by the sidewalk in Beverly Hills, but never mind: Seconds later, he's disguised as a milkman, delivering poisoned milk. Are there still milkmen?


This early in the film, we're still asking such logical questions. Later, the despair sets in. Matthau checks into a hotel across from a courthouse so that he can set up a sniping post and assassinate another witness. Lemmon checks into the room next door so that he can kill himself. He wants to commit suicide because his wife (Paula Prentiss) has run away with a goofy sex therapist (Klaus Kinski).

The gimmick is that Lemmon's suicide attempts keep calling attention to the floor of the hotel where Matthau wants to maintain a very low visibility. So Matthau is forced to become Lemmon's friend, of sorts, in between episodes of chloroforming him and tying him to chairs.

None of this plot description even suggests the dismal morbidity of “Buddy Buddy.” It is possible, I suppose, that this selfsame plot and even these identical actors and maybe even the same director could have produced a funny movie. That is not the case this time. Basically, we are invited to watch two drudges meander through a witless, pointless exercise in farce.

Wilder, Lemmon, Matthau. They have given us wonderful moments of movie comedy. Their credits together include “The Fortune Cookie” and the “The Front Page.” Wilder has also directed Lemmon in the “The Apartment,” “Some Like It Hot” and “Avanti!.” Some of those titles represent great movies. Some, such as “Avanti!,” were disappointing. “Buddy Buddy” is incompetent. And that is the saddest word I can think of to describe it.

Popular Blog Posts

Hashtag Activism and the #CancelColbert campaign

The recent #CancelColbert campaign on Twitter raises all kinds of issues about racism, but also about hashtag activism.

Able-Bodied Actors and Disability Drag: Why Disabled Roles are Only for Disabled Performers

Scott Jordan Harris argues that disabled characters should not be played by able-bodied actors.

For the love of it: notes on the decline of Entertainment Weekly, the firing of Owen Gleiberman, and the ongoing end of an era

Owen Gleiberman's sacking as lead film critic of Entertainment Weekly — part of a ritual bloodletting of staffers at ...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus