California Suite

Director: Herbert Ross
Year Released: 1978
Rating: 1.5

A series of Neil Simon-scripted vignettes revolve around the Beverly Hills Hotel and vary in terms of mood, but are consistently mediocre in quality. Of the four bits, I found the Walter Matthau-Elaine May section the best, mostly because the dark comedy is played off well by the two veterans (they were fantastic in A New Leaf) while strangely enough the piece with Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor turns into banal physical comedy. The two 'dramatic' components - the Alan Alda-Jane Fonda and Maggie Smith-Michael Caine rants - are laborious, although it is fun to think about how Maggie Smith won an Oscar for playing an actress who loses the Oscar. How delightfully 'meta!'