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Neil Simon's California Suite

3.9 out of 5 stars 88 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

CALIFORNIA SUITE is the story of five couples who have come to the Beverly Hills Hotel for diverse reasons and who must all confront some rather amusing personal dilemmas. Sidney Cochran (Michael Caine) becomes the victim of wife Diana's (Maggie Smith) outrage when she misses winning an Oscar(r). (Smith won a real Oscar(r) for Best Supporting Actress in this role). Marvin Michaels (Walter Matthau) must somehow explain to his wife (Elaine May) how a sexy blonde got in his bed. Wisecracking Hannah Warren (Jane Fonda) is uneasy about her ex-husband's (Alan Alda) new California lifestyle. And Dr. Chauncey Gump (Richard Pryor) must contend with his friend's (Bill Cosby) increasingly imposing manner.Great fun!

Special Features

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Product Details

  • Actors: Michael Caine, Jane Fonda, Richard Pryor, Alan Alda, Bill Cosby
  • Directors: Herbert Ross
  • Producers: Ray Stark
  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, Dubbed, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Cantonese, Chinese, English, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish
  • Dubbed: French
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    PLEASE NOTE:
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    PG
    Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 1, 2002
  • Run Time: 103 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00005RYKZ
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,504 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Neil Simon's California Suite" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By D. M. Farmbrough on December 5, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
Clever direction means that this doesn't seem too play-like and the hotel rooms never seem claustrophobic. A very strong cast is assembled here, with Caine cast against type as a closet case preparing to receive an Oscar with his bitter and scathing wife Maggie Smith. Alan Alda turns in a moving performance as Billy, and Pryor and Cosby, both usually associated with other actors, show us what a good double-act they could have been. It seems to be four plays in one, with the tone of the comedy varying from piece to piece. Alda's section is touching comedy, Walter Matthau's is farce, Caine's is wry observation while Cosby's is farce again. The brevity of the individual pieces means that the film moves along at a cracking pace, leaving you wanting more. If you do want more, I suggest Neil Simon's Plaza Suite.
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Format: DVD
There is a certain amount of contrivance and staginess to be expected in many Neil Simon film adaptations. I mention this only for viewers who may not be familiar with Simon as a playwright/screenwriter whose most successful days included "The Odd Couple" and "The Goodbye Girl." Working almost exclusively in theater and TV for the past 20 years, it seems as if he retreated from film after dabbling in original screenplays for such dubious films as "The Slugger's Wife" and "The Marrying Man." Well for good or bad, "California Suite" is pure Simon circa 1978--a West Coast riff and companion piece to his successful "Plaza Suite." If you are a Simon fan, this is undoubtedly a must-have film for a variety of reasons. If, however, you have no idea who Simon is--there is still much to recommend "California Suite."

Structured as four overlapping stories set in one Los Angeles hotel, Simon has assembled a pretty impressive array of talent. Jane Fonda and Alan Alda play a divorced couple engaged in verbal warfare over the welfare of her daughter. Fonda, anyway, is especially brutal and annoyed that Alda has assumed a laid back California persona. Walter Matthau displays his comedy chops trying to remove a prostitute from his room. Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor face off in grand slapstick fashion when only one vacancy is available. And Maggie Smith and Michael Caine are on hand from England to attend the Oscars. Smith's character has been nominated and in an amusing bit of real life, Smith won Best supporting Actress for this role! Told you it was a good cast!

"California Suite," undoubtedly, is in the middle range of Simon's oeuvre. He did get a screenplay nomination in addition to Smith's statuette. It's hard to deny the appeal of seeing this big name cast let loose.
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Format: DVD
This film is a serious and hilarious look at the lives of four very different groups of people who are staying at the swank Beverly Hills Hotel. Each group is visiting California for their own special reasons and run into various snags, conflicts, or peculiar circumstances which complicate their lives immensely and which they are forced to resolve. Regardless of the solution, it has far-reaching consequences for their future. The resolutions to their dilemmas makes for a highly entertaining film with outstanding performances and impressive storylines.

In the first scenario, Alan Alda plays Bill Warren a screen writer now living in California whose teenage daughter had flown across the USA to be with him, essentially she escaped from her mother, Hannah Warren (played by Jane Fonda) who is a highly successful writer living in New York. I was impressed by the deep emotional responses to the personal circumstances which arose between Bill and Hannah as they explored the options and their reaction to their daughter's choice to visit her father and possibly live with him.Bill and Hannah clearly had different approaches to life and understood the reasons they had divorced, yet had a love and respect for each other that transcended their great differences. Bill accepted the fact that it was best for Jenny to live with her mother and yet because Jenny had flown to see him, was placed in the difficult situation of choosing what is best for Jenny in the long run. . Hannah explores the "mother-daughter" relationship and bond, wanting to do the right thing for Jenny and expressing her feelings with depth and passion. Both Alan Alda and Jane Fonda provide astonishing performances with realism and depth, allowing the viewer to see their true acting abilities from a new perspective.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A hilarious collection of stories covering a variety of topics from some of Hollywood's legends, like Jane Fonda and Alan Alda as two divorced parents who live on opposite coasts and have opposite lives and outlooks that are trying to figure out each other while deciding with whom their daughter will live. Then there's the legendary Maggie Smith and Michael Caine as a unique couple in Hollywood in town for the Academy Awards, and the banter never stops between them. There's also Walter Mathau as a neurotic Jewish husband in town a day ahead of his wife for his nephews barmitzvah (sorry I spelled that wrong). But his manipulative brother has set him up for a wild night with a young lady. Then there's Bill Cosby and Richard Pryor as two cheapskate doctors from New York who are on vacation with their wives. Eventually, they get on each others nerves too the point of a resulting WW3! From the creative genius of writer Neil Simon is one of the best comedy dramas ever made. And not just that decade either- it may be one of the best films ever made. Watch and decide for yourself. You might be surprised.
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