C.C. "Bud" Baxter (Jack Lemmon) is a pencil pushing number cruncher in a sea of pencil pushing number crunchers at a top insurance agency but he has a leg up on the competition which will surely secure him a spot in middle management: a key to his flat which he lends out to supervisors for late night trysts. Soon he falls for an elevator girl (Shirley MacLaine), another wounded, lonely soul, and when it becomes apparent that she is involved with the CEO (Fred MacMurray), Baxter is forced to confront his love life, living arrangement, and work situation. Billy Wilder's The Apartment, a personal favorite from the great German emigre's unprecedented career, is so funny, witty, ultra cynical yet so heartfelt that it gets you to the point it hurts. Lemmon offers one of his finest, most tender performances, MacLaine is affecting in an early role, and MacMurray is excellent as the heartless dolt, with the rest of the cast (especially the lecherous members of upper management) in superb form.
**** out of ****