Just watched Kotch, the only film Jack Lemmon directed with his pal Walter Matthau starring. Matthau plays Joseph Kotcher, a retired businessman who's staying with his son Gerald (Charles Aidman),daughter-in-law Wilma (Felicia Farr, who was Lemmon's real-life wife),and their baby son Duncan. Since both parents work and Joe isn't always responsible with his grandson (Wilma mentions Duncan getting some beer foam and pizza from his grandpop),they send him to a retirement home. This happens despite the babysitter they hired, Erica (Deborah Winters),being not so responsible herself since she has sex with her boyfriend in Kotcher's home with Joe as witness. Needless to say, Joe and Erica form an unlikely bond when she gets pregnant and he decides to go on the road instead of agreeing to the old folks home. I'll stop right there and say while I thought that the movie was going to be a little treacly with scenes of Matthau and the baby on the playground and the Marvin Hamlisch-Johnny Mercer song "Life is What You Make It" playing (which amazingly got an Oscar nomination),it got a little better with Joe's amusing tangents throughout the picture. Erica took a little more getting used to since her tangents were initially irritating but she calmed down eventually. I was worried for her, however, when she first rode in Kotch's creaky 1940s car especially since neither wore a seat belt when they were running fast! The funniest scene to me was when they stopped at a gas station and, as they were going to the ladies' restroom, the sign near the door said, "Ask Attendent for Key"! This happens as Erica's water broke and the attendants were very fixated on their motorcycle. Also appearing here are Larry Linville in his film debut as Erica's brother and guardian who provides some amusing moments a year before becoming Frank Burns on "M*A*S*H", and Ellen Geer, actor Will Geer's daughter, who plays Joe's late wife Vera in flashbacks in touching scenes. She was also Lemmon's ex-wife Frances on The Odd Couple II, and recently played Katherine Mayfair's aunt on "Desparate Housewives". Not a great dramedy, but Lemmon the director provides some nice touches that makes one keep watching for the little moments that Matthau provides in a role that got him a second Oscar nomination. Worth a look for fans of both.
Action / Comedy / Drama
Action / Comedy / Drama
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Joseph Kotcher, a retired traveling salesman, lives with his son Gerald and daughter-in-law Wilma in Los Angeles. He dotes upon his young grandson Duncan irritating high-strung Wilma to the point that she hires Erica, a high school student, as a regular babysitter to replace his efforts. However, Grandpa Kotcher still gets on her nerves, and she convinces Gerald to move him out. To humor his son he agrees to take an apartment at a retirement facility, but after being subjected to some psychological tests he opts instead to take an extended vacation, traveling up the coast by bus. Erica leaves town at the same time, for upon discovering she is pregnant, Wilma fires her and she is sent away to work in San Bernadino by her uptight older brother Peter, who is also her guardian. Grandpa Kotcher returns weeks later to find a Halloween party underway and his room full of Wilma's sewing stuff. A waiting card from Erica explains that due to "serious difficulties" she cannot repay some money he gave her. After an abrupt reunion with Duncan, he immediately slips away to find Erica, finally tracing her to Palm Springs where he decides to stay and rent a small house. No longer able to work as a beautician as her size grows, Erica finally accepts an offer to stay with him by unexpectedly appearing at Christmas time.
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