California Suite, written by Neil Simon
A different version of this note and thoughts on other books are available at:
- https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLEVa4_CsRStSBBDo4uJWT8BSWtTTn0N1E and http://realini.blogspot.ro/
This film benefits from a stellar cast, with one exception:
- Jane Fonda, Alan Alda, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Walter Matthau, Richard Prior and a few others
These are titans.
The exception is Bill Cosby.
I understand that there are many issues, claims and complaints surrounding him.
Notwithstanding the fact that this is a comedy, most couples that appear in this film have issues.
Jane Fonda plays Hannah Warren and Alan Alda is Bill Warren, the ex-husband.
Their dialogue can be amusing but there is also acrimony in their lines.
Especially Hannah is very upset.
Their daughter left New York, where she was living with her mother to join Bill, on the West Coast.
The question is:
- Who should have the child?
- Is it better for her in New York?
She did not seem to enjoy it since she departed.
There are questions about new lovers and then a confession about the poor health of "the second most intelligent man in the country"
Another couple, with a different scope in Los Angeles is
- Diana Barrie aka Maggie Smith and Sidney Cochran as interpreted by Michael Caine.
They are an odd couple and she is nominated for an Academy Award.
Sydney is very smart, funny, charming, but alas he is not the way Diana wants him to be.
His bisexuality makes her unhappy, even if it is clear that he respects the rules they have set for themselves.
She is unhappy with the ceremony, the fact that she got nominated not for better work but for a part and a film she does not respect.
The parts given to Prior and Cosby are not that good, if you ask me.
They have to portray two doctors who are on holiday with their wives.
All sorts of dubious things happen.
Prior is given a room that is so small, I do not know that I have seen one like that even here.
The crowd in A Night at The Opera that gathered in Groicho Marx's room made for hilarious moments.
Here, those scenes hit the wall.
Walter Matthau had a somewhat more decent role.
But it is not something that should be played by such a great actor.
He gets as a "birthday present" a call girl in his room.
She drinks a whole bottle of tequila and it is impossible to wake her up the following day.
And then the wife comes in.
The guilty husbands tries all the tricks you know from other comedies...
Tries to take the sleeping beauty on the hall, under some sheets...
In conclusion, it is not the best film I have seen.
And it is a pity that so much talent is used to produce a rather modest work...
Not the ridiculus mus, but not that far either.
It is surprising to find this on the NYT list of best 1,000 movies.