The Fortune Cookie

Billy Wilder's search for the perfect elaboration of American venality led him, in 1966, to construct this tale of a television cameraman (Jack Lemmon), injured during a football game, whose brother-in-law fakes a multimillion-dollar damage suit against the Cleveland Browns. Walter Matthau won an Oscar as the shyster lawyer, and Wilder managed to inject even more of his acrid humor than usual. (Lemmon goes along with the complicated deception in order to regain the affections of his estranged wife.) Wildly funny in spots, but nihilistic in the extreme. 125 min.

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