Fan Film, Fan Films

Star Wars Gets The Neil Simon Treatment

odd-star-wars-coupleIn honor of April Fools Day, here’s one of my all-time favorite Star Wars fan films, The Odd Star Wars Couple, which has been banging around the internet for over a decade. I don’t know why this never became huge, because it is a side-splitter. Maybe it’s a generational thing, where the kids simply ain’t familiar with the old Tony Randall/Jack Klugman sitcom. Here’s a bit of what I wrote about it in my book, Homemade Hollywood

The Odd Star Wars Couple, produced by the Glendale, CA-based filmmaking collective Pewter Joe Flynn, was deceptively straightforward. The 1997 short simply recast Neil Simon’s classic play/movie/sitcom The Odd Couple with Chewbacca as nebbish Felix Unger and Darth Vader as über-slob Oscar Madison. It could be argued that they were cast against type (really, wouldn’t Chewie work better as Oscar and the sharp, straight lines of Darth flatter a Felix?), but the short still worked on a number of levels.
By combining the biggest movie of the 1970s with one of the most popular sitcoms of the era, the short plays up the contrast between the two sources: a predictable comedy with predictable jokes versus a then-revolutionary space opera. While it’s affectionate towards the creations of Lucas and Simon, it also seems to suggest that the overwhelming success of Star Wars might have been due to a lack of true creative competition. If The Odd Couple was typical of popular entertainment at the time, how could recycled gags about two divorced men living together compete with X-Wings, lightsabers and the like?

Some people say this isn’t funny—particularly the opening scene—but I think the forced feel of it, underlined by the canned laughter, is one of the funniest bits ever in a fan film. The cleverness in this flick, however, is noticably absent in their follow up The Making of The Odd Star Wars Couple, a 10-minute mockumentary which just never clicks. The original still shines bright, however—give it a try.

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