John and Max are elderly men living next door to each other. They're continuously arguing and insulting each other, and have been this way for over 50 years. One day, Ariel, moves into the street. Both men are attracted to her, and their rivalry steps up a gear. Written by
Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis were strongly considered for the roles of John and Max, respectively, but both declined because of Martin's frail health which prevented him from taking the role. Martin died in December of 1995, right around the exact same time that this movie's sequel, Grumpier Old Men (1995) was released in theaters. See more »
When John comes back from his visit with the IRS, he returns in a cab but doesn't pay the cab driver. See more »
One outtake has Jack Lemmon flub his lines, and he continues, in the same tone of voice, babbling gibberish. Matthau answers him in the same "language." Their timing and intonation are precisely as they'd be if they weren't jabbering nonsense to one another. See more »
After a hiatus of over a decade Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau came gloriously back in parts to suit their senior citizen status in Grumpy Old Men. They may move a little slower, but their comic timing hasn't slowed up one bit.
The setting is a small town in Minnesota where these two old neighbors and widowers have this rivalry going back for years. Next to the ice fishing which they and apparently everyone else enjoys during the winter, their favorite pastime is cracking wise and playing jokes to one up the other. One thing that has slowed up is their libidos.
But that's about to change when Ann-Margret moves across the street. The sight of a pretty woman right on the block is all these two old geezers need to get into action.
As for Ann-Margret she's a free spirit of sorts who's flattered with the attention. Matthau has another friend in high places, his son Kevin Pollak is elected mayor of their town. Lemmon has a daughter played by Darryl Hannah and a grandson and she's married to Christopher McDonald, but they're estranged. The kids like each other and both of their fathers.
Lemmon also has tax problems, he owes some big bucks to the IRS and the villain in Grumpy Old Men is tax man, a most officious Buck Henry. The IRS is an agency everyone hates because it's the only place where you really are guilty until proved innocent in the USA. What happens to Lemmon is all too true. I myself could tell you stories of the IRS problems I've had through no fault of my own. I never owed as much as Lemmon did however and all due to an accounting error while Lemmon was filing jointly with his wife when she was still alive over a decade earlier. Some eager beaver auditor at IRS caught it and the interest and penalties compounded have him ready to lose his house.
I also have to note the presence of another pair of old geezers in the cast, Ossie Davis and Burgess Meredith. Davis owns a convenience store and in the opinion of Lemmon charges outrageously for bait during the ice fishing season. And Meredith is Lemmon's nonagenarian father who is past the age of caring what anyone thinks of him or his opinions.
Grumpy Old Men is a wonderful film for the elderly. Now that I'm at the age of Lemmon's and Matthau's character, I can enjoy this now more than ever. For Geezers of all ages.
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