“I’m no longer interested in beds.”
A recently divorced husband (Jack Lemmon) and wife (Judy Holliday) navigate the tricky world of dating while gradually recognizing that they’re still in love with one another.
Judy Holliday and Jack Lemmon are perfectly paired in this sprightly romantic comedy (directed by Mark Robson, and scripted by George Axelrod) about a recently divorced couple who are clearly meant to end up right back in one another’s arms; with this understanding fully in mind, one watches the couple’s quibbling and travails with a sense of bemusement rather than discomfort. The film isn’t entirely successful, with some scenes working better than others: for instance, Holliday’s first post-divorce date — with the narcissistic star (Donald Curtis) of her hit radio show — is played much too broadly; but her scenes with the inimitable Jack Carson (as Lemmon’s playboy roommate) go in unexpected directions, and Lemmon’s dalliance with a sexy young student (Kim Novak, having fun channeling Marilyn Monroe) is an interesting foreshadowing of his scenes as traumatized Oscar Madison interacting with the Pigeon sisters in The Odd Couple (1968).
My favorite scenario, however, is a wordless one in which Holliday and Lemmon meet each other unexpectedly on the dance floor, flaunting their new moves (they’ve both taken dance lessons) while doing the mambo; one wonders how long it took them to coordinate their physical timing, and to learn to dance so perfectly awkwardly. (All of this is made doubly impressive knowing that Holliday was sick as a dog throughout most of the shooting, and reported feeling like she was sleep-walking through many of her scenes.) Another fun scene has mustachoied Lemmon — cautiously exercising his newly single muscles while driving a sporty car — attempting to flirt with a sexy woman on the sidewalk, only to have her turn around and reveal she’s Holliday. Silly? Yes. Unrealistic? Sure. But Holliday and Lemmon are such gifted comedians that we can’t help enjoying their work together throughout this light-hearted romp. If only all divorces were so easily remedied.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Judy Holliday as Nina
- Jack Carson as Charlie
- Lemmon and Holliday’s hilarious dancing scene
No, though it’s definitely recommended simply for the performances.