June 6, 2005

Faulty Billy Wilder - Irma LaDouce

I've grown up hearing about how Billy Wilder was a great director. But for some reason, I've never been terribly overwhelmed by his films. With a couple of exceptions.

I think Sunset Boulevard is one of the best movies ever made. No taking that way from Billy Wilder. And The Apartment is pretty darned good and, while not one of his most noted movies, I've always really liked Avanti!

But the way people talk about Billy Wilder, you would think he was the greatest thing since ... well, I don't know what. And I just don't think he's that. His movies often seemed dated. Like the one I just watched, Irma LaDouce.

This one has its moments. But it's very uneven. It goes great for a while then suddenly, the engine stalls. The biggest problem is it comes across as a circa 1965 fifty-year-old man's middle-aged crisis movie. Too many jiggly girls and saucy innuendo jokes.

And the movie is horribly stagy. The film's concept is okay, as a comedy. But I believe it was taken from a stage play. It certainly has the look and feel of a play and a play is not a movie. On film, it feels too artificial.

Generally, it comes across as a movie that thinks it's clever and wants you to think so too.

And it just ain't.

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