A blog dealing with either the joy of cinema or the agony of cinema--nothing in between.
Saturday, August 27, 2011
The Sunshine Boys
In vaudeville's heyday Al Lewis and Willy Clark were a top act, performing their routine thousands of times over a number of years. Offstage, however was a different story and the two men cannot stand each other not speaking since the duo broke up. Now Willy's nephew, an aspiring agent, has gotten them a lucrative gig on a television special highlighting the history of comedy. Now all he has to do is reunite the cantankerous old codgers and make sure they don't kill each other before the broadcast. Written for the screen by Neil Simon from his stage play, "The Sunshine Boys" is a barrage of bad jokes, with an occasional zinger, given an incredible assist by stars Walter Matthau and George Burns. Matthau plays an exaggeration of the usual curmudgeon we've grown accustomed to and his performance here is fun, both physical and over the top. Burns is incredible in his first starring role in 36 years and one that won him an Academy Award. The ending of the film is also nicely realized and unexpected. There are moments is "The Sunshine Boys" that are laugh out loud funny and many that make you shake your head at their tackiness. But at the top stand two titans of comedy and the cinema, even if the material isn't always at their level.