Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Sunshine Boys (1975) - ★★★½

Director: Herbert Ross
Stars: Walter Matthau, George Burns, Richard Benjamin

The Sunshine Boys would have to be one of the funniest movies about senility. Walter Matthau is downright hilarious in this movie! It's entertaining for the most part, but a little bit slow. One thing it did do is rekindle my love for vaudevillian humor. With wonderful dialogue and amazing performances, it made me laugh pretty darn hard.

Oh, did I mention that Phyllis Diller makes a cameo? 

Willy Clark (Matthau) and Al Lewis (Burns) were a team of vaudevillian comedians that performed together for 47 years. They split up because they hated each others guts and didn't speak to one another for years. When ABC invites them to perform together on a 'comedy special,' they reunite for the $10,000 cash and one last shot at glory. The problem is, they still can't stand being around each other!

The highlight of the film is definitely the banter between Matthau and Burns. It was so natural, so hilarious, that my sides started hurting at times. I don't care what people say, Burns wholeheartedly deserved his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Whether they were arguing about creative differences or each others mannerisms, it was amazing to see these veteran comedic actors at their very best.

I also loved when they actually performed their vaudevillian act. God they made me laugh. It reminded me of old Benny Hill skits, with a busty blonde and crude humor. I tell you, this is the best performance I've ever seen Matthau give. A part of me really wants to say that he should have won the Oscar for Best Actor, but alas I cannot. Even though he was perfect in every way, Jack Nicholson was even more remarkable in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

My only problem is that it's overly long and not always a joy to watch. But for the most part, I loved this movie to bits. I'm still reeling over how much they made me laugh! I think this is intended for an older audience. I couldn't see many people under thirty liking this movie as much as I did. Maybe it's because I've been around retirement homes for years. I've seen senile old men get under each others skin, and this movie captured the humorous side perfectly. Burns and Matthau are a forced to be reckoned with in The Sunshine Boys. 

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