M S Krishna Prateek’s review published on Letterboxd:
- "The doctor said it takes 48 hours to get that stuff out of your system."
- "How long does it take to get someone you're stuck on out of your system?"
Another insurance office at the centre of a Billy Wilder film like Double Indemnity with lack of assurance of love at its centre of affairs and is all about how the suddenly built relations lacking a strong foundation of love/empathy eventually get crumbled lovewise, familywise, "cookiewise" and "otherwisewise"!
Of all the jobs present in the world, making a person laugh or cry is the toughest job out there and imagine an actor pulling off both by in turn giving us a tough job for deciding whether to cry or laugh at the character's every turn of fate. In this regard, Jack Lemmon as Mr Baxter is not only one of the best performances in a comedy but in all of Cinema and although initially, I felt Jack Lemmon was sort of overdoing his role, I got accustomed to his characterization within no time as I realized what would a man do other than overdoing the laughs to hide the cries of coldness he is enduring while getting isolated by many cold-hearted affairs creeping into his apartment and crumbling outside.
"Buddy boy" is not at all interested in getting lured by the girls around and is instead lured by the shortcuts to success around him in order to bring visibility to the man who is almost rendered invisible in the opening frame, having lost among some of his colleagues out of the 31,259 employees. By banking on the marital descent of his "Taker" bosses, Baxter takes the elevator to success or fame from 19th floor to 27th floor and yet he couldn't feel the least bit elevated in his ascent in contrast to what he felt towards Miss Kubelik who floored him during the 2 days time she spent in his apartment and made him realize how lonely he'd been before. "Bud" plays out as an assistant all his life in assisting the affairs of his bosses' extramarital assistants and the moment he pulls out of the assistance by realizing he is the boss of his own life is one of the most badass moments ever committed to screen devoid of a score overpowering the moment as it's all the man himself!
Shirley MacLaine as the broken Fran Kubelik is one of those characters I empathized with the most in a film, especially in the scene where she confronts Mr Sheldrake with "Monday... and Thursday... and Monday again, and Thursday again" and I felt like clapping yet crying at the same time when she said, "Careful." "Lipstick." Both performance-wise and "Kubelikwise", Kubelik holds a mirror up to Cabiria in Nights of Cabiria in a sense that both these ladies have this unique talent of falling in love "with the wrong guy in the wrong place at the wrong time" and I would have been devastated as hell had Kubelik suffered the same ending as that of Cabiria, but thanks a lot, Billy!
So many people in this film have a job without knowing what exactly their other jobs mean to them as a "mensch" or a human being and that includes Billy Wilder as well because I thought his job was to make me only laugh with this romantic comedy, but made me cry in the guise of a tragicomedy. Feeling sad in scenes evoking sadness is an easy job, but the tough job here is to soak in all the hidden sadness of characters who display their face awash in happiness. Thank you, Billy Wilder, for this conversational rom-com masterpiece that will be conserved forever for your screenwriting and it's already long, so I guess I gotta go before you shout at me saying, "Shut up and deal".