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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Buddy Buddy (1981)



Reviews and Comments

Billy Wilder's final film was this black comedy reteaming Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Lemmon and Matthau made nine films together; although their most famous was The Odd Couple, their first together was also a Billy Wilder film, The Fortune Cookie.

In this one, Matthau plays an assassin and Lemmon a suicidal man who keeps unwittingly getting in his way. It has some great moments, but it's a bit too crude. Wilder was always one of those directors who liked to push the limits of the Hays Code. That tension was a great thing: Double Indemnity, for instance, works so much better by suggesting what's really going on than by showing it outright. The same principle applied to his comedies, too, like The Apartment and Irma La Douce. But with this film, made in 1981, that tension is lifted, and some of the magic is gone. It's still worth seeing, but for a Billy Wilder comedy it is uncharacteristically forgettable.