Gene Saks’ film of Neil Simon’s Broadway hit retains much of the feel of a stage production as it feels artificial and performed by the two leads in a manner which suggests Proscenium Arch (most of the cast had previously appeared onstage in the play) rather than the greater fluidity of the cinema. Concentrating on a pair of mismatched (is there any other kind of character pairings existent in the Simon universe?) newlyweds- the bride a free spirit, the groom a buttoned down fuddy duddy -the play follows the first weeks of their marital cohabitation accented by the usual tools of Simon’s jokebook arsenal including an apartment apparently operated under the conditions of Murphy’s Law, a hypochondriacal mother and a slew of exotic neighbors including a particularly randy gentleman in the attic apartment, all of whom work in great earnest to try to divert attention from the lack of freshness in the one-liners. This last is a continuous problem in the Simon oeuvre, as there is very little actual dialogue but merely a rhythmic procession of set-up line, punchline, set-up line, punchline; a reminder of the author’s sketch comedy roots.
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