Very few actors have what the two leads in The April Fools possess. Catherine Deneuve oozes class and beauty like few others have in film history. Jack Lemmon has the sort of comedic timing that others wish for and it comes naturally to Lemmon. Both of them just have a naturalness about them and together somehow they work. Not a couple you would pick to star in a film together and yet it works.
This is not going to be just a simple promotion for Howard Brubaker (Jack Lemmon – Grumpy Old Men, Some Like it Hot). While he is getting the promotion from his boss Ted Gunther (Peter Lawford – Ocean’s Eleven – 1960, Easter Parade) it is not going to be the meeting he expected. Rather he finds himself amidst a wild party at the Gunthers. A fish out of water Brubaker just floats around trying to find someone to talk to. He finally bumps into a woman and asks her if he can get her a drink. The woman says she just has to get her purse and will meet him in a moment. Brubaker tells Gunther he has met a woman and is leaving with her. Gunther encourages her to go and have a good time.
At the second place Brubaker and Catherine (Catherine Deneuve – Dancer in the Dark, Belle de Jour) go to they meet an odd woman named Grace (Myrna Loy – The Thin Man, The Great Ziegfeld) and go to her place to meet her husband, André (Charles Boyer – Barefoot in the Park, Gaslight).
As the night progresses and the more they get to know each other the more they fall in love. Both realize they are unhappy in their marriages and as such make a plan to run off together to Paris. All that is left to do is to tell their spouses.
Some films slip between cracks and are forgotten amongst the rest. This romantic comedy is one of those films. Released at the end of the 60s in 1969, Stuart Rosenberg’s (The Pope of Greenwich Village, The Amityville Horror) The April Fools is a simple film with a simple story. It doesn’t get all fancy on us rather it just shows two people falling in love and then life getting in the way. The sweet story revolves around the theme of a princess kissing a frog and turning it into a prince. An adult fairy tale that does not turn off the viewer due to the charisma of the two leads.
What it does better than most is give us a window into corporate life at the end of the 60s. The wild parties and women, psychedelic music, and swinging lifestyle are all not perfect. Topping off all the great sets and costumes is the music by Marvin Hamlisch (long time music partner of Barbra Streisand) and great theme song sung by Dionne Warwick.