Monday, February 22, 2010

The Owl and the Pussycat

Year 2, Day 53 - 2/22/10 - Movie #418

BEFORE: Another movie that I only know from reading the MAD Magazine parody when I was a kid - which doesn't count as seeing the film. The only Streisand movie I watched as a kid was "What's Up, Doc?", and when they ran that on cable a couple years ago I taped it, and put it on a DVD with this film.

THE PLOT: Owlish Felix is an unpublished writer who vents his frustration by reporting to the super that the woman in a neighboring flat takes the occasional payment for sex.

AFTER: Another snapshot of New York City romance in the 1970's. People have tiny apartments, noisy neighbors, and rude Russian supers - seems about right. And everyone's a wanna-be writer, or a wanna-be actress or's a city of a million broken dreams.

Streisand is perfectly cast as a loud, ditzy broad who WILL NOT SHUT UP, even though it's three a.m. and everyone around her just wants to catch a few winks. I see girls like this almost every day on the subway, and sometimes it's so tempting to offer them $10 just to not talk for 5 minutes, because I know they won't be able to do it (but at least I'll enjoy 2-3 minutes of silence...)

But people seem to pay Streisand's Doris for other things - modeling, actressing, or being tied up while they throw food at her. Yes, all those Manhattanites with broken dreams are real sick perverts behind closed doors... This could be the first movie to deal with fetish groups, well before the internet even existed.

But once loudmouth Doris and bookish Felix (George Segal) spend a crazy night at each other's throats, bickering and yammering, life apart is never quite the same - for one thing, it's a lot quieter, but also less exciting. Can two Manhattanites share an apartment without driving each other crazy? No, apparently not.

This felt like a one-act play adapted into a movie - yep, IMDB confirms that Buck Henry adapted a play by Bill Manhoff. It's got that "Butterflies Are Free"-feel to it.

Also starring Robert Klein as Felix's friend Barney, Roz Kelly (aka Pinky Tuscadero) as Doris' friend Eleanor, and that's porn-star Marilyn Chambers (under another name) as Barney's girlfriend.

RATING: 4 out of 10 go-go dancers (split them up between Mr. Segal and Mr. Klein, as hazard pay...)

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