The Fortune Cookie - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Fortune Cookie Reviews

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Super Reviewer
September 20, 2008
An underrated bittersweet comedy sparklingly written by the master of cynicism. Tailor made for the antics of the marvelous odd couple Matthau-Lemmon.
Super Reviewer
August 5, 2007
A comical caper from Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau, some great lines throughout, easy watching, a good oldie.
Super Reviewer
September 5, 2010
Another great comedy from Wilder, this movie is hilarious, fun, and has a great cast. I highly recommend it.
Super Reviewer
March 1, 2009
The Fortune Cookie is a brilliant film, cynical and satirical and yet uplifting. Its protagonist (Jack Lemmon) is a cameraman, which allowed director Billy Wilder to insert all kinds of commentary on movie-making, as if he wasn't making comment enough on greed and the "everyone sues everyone for everything" future of capitalist America. An almost prophetic film that features Walter Matthau's break-out role. The division into little chapters didn't really do the film any favours, and from time to time the whole enterprise was beset by a little too much sentiment, but these complaints aren't enough to make this any less than an absolute classic. That Abraham Lincoln's words ring throughout - "you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time" - is a testament to exactly what Wilder feared America was to become... a nation of people willing to live an extended lie just to make a quick million. Great, great film.
Super Reviewer
November 5, 2006
Another likeable Matthau/Lemmon vehicle, but it lacks the resonance of Wilders best efforts.
Super Reviewer
½ January 30, 2007
Set in Cleveland, it's at a Browns game where Lemmon is injured. The first great pairing of Matthau and Lemmon.
Super Reviewer
April 25, 2008
Another awesome comedy from Matthau and Lemmon.
½ November 22, 2011
Pretty good and funny movie. Lemon got to really shine in The Odd Couple, and Matthau gets to here. The relationship between Lemmon and the football player feels so impossible today, I wonder how believable it was then. Funny movie that's aged pretty well.
½ August 24, 2012
Despite a seeming simple plot, the movie manages to remain witty and comedic. Loved the Cleveland references.
½ February 23, 2010
The first film to pair Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, and their interaction is the best part of the film. Overall the film drags a bit, but there are some very funny moments that make it worth sitting through. The climactic moment where the secret is revealed is extremely entertaining.
March 2, 2009
One of the greatest comedies ever. Caught parts of it this Sunday. It sure stands up to repeat viewing. Excellent study to learn why today's popular comedies are so dreadful.
½ February 17, 2008
Another great Billy Wilder film, featuring the unforgettable team of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. This isn't his best work, but still a worthy comedy about an insurance-scam lawyer who tries to take advantage of his brother-in-laws recent injuries. Very well acted but I would say the biggest flaw is that the pace drags a bit at times, but it doesn't detract from the film overall. As with many Wilder films, this movie is not meant to be seen as only a comedy, there is a mix of serious drama inserted in the plot, which includes infidelity and racial tension.
November 26, 2006
What a bitter comedy! Only the football player who accidentally injures Jack Lemmon shows any human feelings. His ex-wife is a cold-hearted bimbo and the Walter Matthau character cares only for money. That's all I remember about it.
October 13, 2006
Just saw this one recently and it's pretty great. I like seeing Jack Lemmon when he's somewhat devious (albeit for love), and Matthau is inspired here. "You can fool some of the people some of the time..."
September 5, 2015
One of the better more intelligent comedy movies this talented team made....and that is saying something
½ April 26, 2015
Great performances from all but it got a little thin taking place in only one or so rooms.
½ March 25, 2015
Las buenas intenciones y una magnífica dirección del gran Billy Wilder.
June 19, 2013
The Fortune Cookie is an entertaining film. It is about a crooked lawyer who persuades his brother-in-law to feign a serious injury. Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau give amazing performances. The script is well written. Billy Wilder did a great job directing this movie. I enjoyed watching this motion picture because of the humor and romance. The Fortune Cookie is a must see.
June 8, 2013
The Fortune Cookie. Another movie featuring one of the best duos in film history, Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Lemmon alone is always a force to be reckoned with but accompanied closely by Matthau and you have golden cinema, and this movie is no different. Great story and funny the whole way through. A few solid characters and some other more shallow ones but an incredibly entertaining movie nonetheless. It's not the most original and it has a less than satisfying ending, but it flashed by in what seemed like minutes and left me craving more of the duo. Not a "classic" but definitely classic Lemmon/Matthau. 7.5/10
½ February 22, 2013
THE FORTUNE COOKIE is Billy Wilder's last Black & White feature and marked the first collaboration of the comedy two-hander Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau (ten more times would follow). The story rotates around an accident prompted insurance scam, plotted by Walter Matthau, the brother-in-law of our protagonist, a sport channel cameraman (Lemmon) who has to feign his spinal injure to ascertain a grand indemnity from the insurance company. It may reminisce of Wilder's noir chief-d'oeuvre DOUBLE INDEMNITY (1944, 8/10), but it is a self-aware comedy, plays out effectively with a scintillating performance from Mr. Mattau (which deservedly earned him an Oscar).

The picture may be eclipsed by Wilder's other more orthodox great works as aforementioned DOUBLE INDEMNITY, THE APARTMENT (1960, 9/10), SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959, 6/10), WITNESS FOR PROSECUTION (1957, 9/10), which are on my viewing lists only. Nevertheless itself is a well-intentioned conscience and guilt parable, the script derives from Wilder's whimsical idea and feels cosseting its audience with an overdone happy ending, which is too saccharine and slackens the frisson which has been accumulated since the dawn of the swindle (we all know it will receive an anticlimax, the only question remains is how).

Jack Lemmon is as studious as usual, painstakingly exerts great sympathetic effort from his (mostly) wheelchair-and-corset confined character, which doesn't have any cinematic idiosyncrasy to churn out, an ordinary guy who falls victim of the manipulation of his chiseled lawyer-cum-brother-in-law and the sex-driven chimera of his money-grabbing ex-wife's comeback. Walter Mattau excels the rest of the cast with his eloquent showboating of his professional acumen and satirizing punchlines. Judi West is also very competent in playing the double-faced ex-wife, lends her role a whiff of intricacy against the stale women-derogation assumption. Ron Rich by comparison, although serves as a game-changer player in the plot, is a green banana and wanting the charisma needed to persuade viewers to (at least) believe in his side of story. The character actor Cliff Osmond, as the private detective, launches many gags which leave some indelible impressions too.

Texturally speaking, the Black & White images emit a gloss of richness and sentimentalities, the melodic, sporadic score by Andre Previn goes smoothly with the context, not Wilder's best, but still an appealing comedy from the Hollywood golden epoch.
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