Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB. USA, 1972. Palomar Pictures. Story by Bruce Jay Friedman, Screenplay by Neil Simon. Cinematography by Owen Roizman. Produced by Edgar J. Scherick. Music by Garry Sherman. Production Design by Richard Sylbert. Costume Design by Anthea Sylbert. Film Editing by John Carter. Academy Awards 1972. Golden Globe Awards 1972.
Without a doubt one of the funniest movies ever made. Charles Grodin is magnificent as a lonely singleton who marries a nice Jewish girl (Jeannie Berlin, who is director Elaine May’s daughter and unbelievably good) but is already frustrated with her perpetually clingy ways before they get to their honeymoon in Miami. Arriving at their beach resort, Grodin meets gorgeous, WASPy Cybill Shepherd and realizes he has found his perfect mate and has to end things with his wife. The process by which this constantly frazzled man screws up his life and follows Shepherd back to her home town, where resides an equally unforgettable Eddie Albert as her exasperated father, makes for non-stop laughs. Neil Simon’s witty script is kept from any kind of contrived comedy nonsense by intelligent, razor-sharp direction by May, who keeps things on a realistic level at all times and, as a result, only makes the film that much funnier. Her portrayal of Berlin’s character in particular is wondrously complex, for while her grating characteristics make it easy to understand why Grodin is ready to move on so quickly, there’s no way you could possibly stomach the idea of anyone being cruel to her. You’ll never look at an egg salad sandwich the same way again.