In this instalment of Groovers & Mobsters, we’re going to look at the “Buddy” element in modern films. It’s taken many forms over the years and come in a variety of iterations but today we’ll evaluate this absolute classic cinematic formula. It’s proven time and again to be a winner and, most of the time, makes for one very funny outing…especially if the characters aren’t having a good time.
Traditionally a “buddy flick” (or even a “road trip movie”) focuses on a two-man team who has either been willingly or unwillingly paired together because of some mutual plot device. What follows is a series of misadventures befalling the leads as they continually bump heads (either their own, or someone else’s) much to the enjoyment of the viewer. That said, the following bloggers appreciate the subtle and not so subtle “back and forth” that the characters in these films dish out/endure and shine some light on their all time favourite “Buddy flicks”. Enjoy!!
Some Like it Hot (1959)
“We’re up the creek and you want to hock the paddle!”
Looking for a way out of town (fast) after witnessing the Saint Valentine’s Day massacre, two out of work male musicians shave their legs, don woman’s cloths and hide out with an all female band on their way to Florida.
The Buddy films now often referred to as Bromances may have aspects of or even predominately belong to another genres but nearly always have at their heart two protagonists whose relationship is integral to the plot of the movie. It helps that the duo in question are the supremely talented actors, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon who have genuine chemistry. Not forgetting the duo behind the scenes Billy Wilder and I. A. L. Diamond who give them such amazing dialogue tom play with.
The dynamic of the characters is summed up their bickering exchanges: Joe (Tony Curtis) is the smooth talking, risk taking, gambling ladies’ man. He is the one who pawns their overcoats in the middle of winter to place a bet, when they loose he suggests hocking their instruments to place a further bet. But he is also the one who gets the girl in the shape of Sugar Kane (Marilyn Monroe), the band’s singer and ukulele player. Jerry (Jack Lemmon) on the other hand is a more complicated character, more cautious, less of a risk taker, always over thinking things and easily led by Joe. A classic example of this plays out in an early scene, the catalyst for the movies plot when the boys find themselves out of work when the speakeasy the work in is raided by the police.
Joe: What are you worried about? This job is going to last a long time.
Jerry: Well, suppose it doesn’t?
Joe: Jerry, boy, why do you have to paint everything so black? Suppose you got hit by a truck. Suppose the stock market crashes. Suppose Mary Pickford divorces Douglas Fairbanks. Suppose the Dodgers leave Brooklyn!
Jerry: [Jerry notices the badge of an undercover agent at a nearby table] Joe…?
Joe: Suppose Lake Michigan overflows.
Jerry: Well, don’t look now, but the whole town is underwater!
Although the movie is basically made up of one gag after another the actors play it straight and deliver their lines with stone cold sincerity however ridicules they are. It isn’t just the wisecracking banter that make the movie great, the interplay between the characters is utterly sublime with the most impeccable comic timing, bringing out both the best and the worst in each other. This is Curtis and Lemmon at their best making this not only my favourite “buddy movie” but my favourite comedy and possibly my all time favourite movie.