The Sunshine Boys

Synopsis: Neil Simon adapted this 1997 comedy from his 1972 play, first filmed in 1975 with Walter Matthau and George Burns as two feuding veteran vaudevillians reuniting to do a television special. For this new version, Simon updated the period and characters into a tale of two comedians (Woody Allen, Peter Falk), once popular in the 1950s. Their successful comedy team split up, but now Warner Brothers wants to bring them back together for cameos in a movie that’s “funnier than Home Alone” — so with salaries of $75,000 each, how can they refuse? Filmed in New York, this movie premiered December 28, 1997 on Hallmark Hall of Fame (CBS).

The Sunshine Boys 6.5

Originally a vehicle for George Burns and Walter Matthau, this is a TV remake that has been updated with more modern references. It’s a good story, but the brand of humour is a little dated – harking back to an era of comic duos that featured a straight man and his zany sidekick. If you want old folks shooting passé zingers, you’ll get an earful with this one!

What really bogs the movie down, however, is the character played by Peter Falk. While his performance is memorable, the character is so irritating that every scene he’s in is like a dark cloud over the proceedings – what should be funny is annoying and what could be endearing is pathetic. Thankfully, the scenes featuring only Woody Allen are lighter, more enjoyable.

Still, Falk and Allen keep the whole affair going splendidly – quite unlike Sarah Jessica Parker, who is so revoltingly awful I wanted to propel her into another movie. Slamming the side of my TV, sadly, failed to produce the desired effect.


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