California Suite

California Suite

Director: Herbert Ross Cast: Jane Fonda, Alan Alda, Maggie Smith, Michael Caine, Walter Matthau, Elaine May, Herb Edelman, Denise Galik, Richard Pryor, Bill Cosby, Gloria Gifford, Sheila Frazier, David Sheehan, Michael Boyle, Len Lawson

Academy Awards: Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Maggie Smith)

Also Nominated For: Best Adapted Screenplay (Neil Simon); Best Art Direction-Set Decoration

I First Saw In: 2015

Synopsis: Misadventures of four groups of guests at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Quotables: (getting ready for the Oscar ceremony) DIANA: Will you please be nice to me, and pay me one bloody compliment! I’ve been getting ready for this horseshit affair for three hours!

And now a Word from the Guise:
A campy farce about various guests staying at a hotel: an outwardly blasé Oscar nominee and her gay husband (Maggie Smith and Michael Caine); a divorced couple trying to come to an agreement about their daughter (Jane Fonda and Alan Alda); two doctors and their wives having the worst vacation ever (Bill Cosby, Richard Pryor, Gloria Gifford, and Sheila Frazier); and a family man and his wife on the way to his nephew’s bar mitzvah… and the hooker he never hired (Walter Matthau, Elaine May, and Denise Galik).

The Matthau-May-Galik scenes and the Cosby-Pryor-Gifford-Frazier scenes were a little too overdone for my taste; too choreographed to come across as hilarious accidents. Conversely, the Fonda-Alda scenes were tedious and uninteresting.

The only characters I found at all engaging were Diana and Sidney. Maggie Smith and Michael Caine were a real treat. They were so deliciously waspish yet affectionate toward each other, they more than made up for the shortcomings of the rest of the film. A most-deservèd Oscar for Maggie Smith.

Oscar Madness Ranking – ??? out of 233