The Odd Couple II (1998)
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Not that this is a boring film. Far from it. We always wondered how Oscar Madison and Felix Unger would have behaved as elderly men. Of course, Felix looked like he and Gloria were going to settle their differences and return together in the first play/movie. Indeed, in the television series Tony Randall did get back to his wife. But here it is obvious it did not work at all. Both men have remained divorced, and both men remain essential the same: Felix the compulsively organized neatnik and Oscar the incorrigible slob. They also have given each other a wide birth if possible. But they find themselves drawn back into mutual orbit. Oscar's son is getting married - and to Felix's daughter. So the pair are headed for the wedding, and that means jointly showing up.
What happens is a series of joint misadventures on the way to the wedding, especially involving two rather fun young women that they meet (Christine Baranski and Jean Smart) with their jealous boyfriends. This leads to several, increasingly odd, run-ins with the sheriff of a small town they can't seem to successfully leave. Indeed, in one case they get a lift out of town in a beautiful white classic Rolls Royce, which moves more slowly than a pair of people on bicycles.
The situations are all quite amusing. But the unity of the film is not there - it is like a series of skits involving Felix and Oscar, that are vaguely united because the two characters are familiar to us, and they are supposed to get to the wedding. Still the two stars give it their all, and with Baranski, Smart, and the late Bernard Hughes it works well enough as an entertainment. But for me, the wackiness and variety of OUT TO SEA make that film a better final film for the pair.
For me, "Grumpy Old Men" is how I would like to remember them. That film had a good story, and was supported by a great team of veterans, Burgess Meredith in particular. In that film, even the out-takes are great.
"The Odd Couple II" reminds me in many ways of "Tough Guys." Both films had legends, both as teams and as individual actors, so when Kirk Douglas and Burt Lancaster appear together for the last time, you want for them to have something really special. That is what we wanted for Jack Lemmon and Walther Matthau. These films are okay, but only because the actors are in them. They are not good enough movies to honor their memories.
The other way to judge this film is by looking at it as the closing act of a REAL buddy team of two actors who have shared a big part of their lives together, both professionally and personally. Then it doesn't matter if the film is as outwardly funny as it is charmingly humorous. You sit there thinking of their first film together -- the first "The Odd Couple" -- and you reminisce. Their first outing with "The Fortune Cookie", their most memorable romp in "The Odd Couple", the hilarity of "The Front Page", their renaissance in "Grumpy Old Men" and "Grumpier Old Men", and even their not so great "Out to Sea" and "Buddy Buddy". You admire them for what they meant individually and collectively to American cinema. And as you watch the scene of them parting at the airport, just maybe you think of Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn in that scene in "Guess Who's Coming Together" where they both know the end is almost upon them...not in film, but in real life. And you see the wistfulness of the parting scene between Lemmon and Matthau, probably realizing that this is the last film together.
So, how to judge this film? Factually or sentimentally? For me, more the latter, because it's a hearty farewell and thank you both for the laughs you have given me.
The script by the great Neil Simon was very hit and miss with the jokes and the whole premise of both of them going to their children's wedding was forced. The direction and editing was pretty sloppy and there was a moment when they were walking in the desert when I almost had a brief flash back of when I saw the movie "Ishtar". The only thing worth seeing and is why I watched it is for Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Despite this odd sequel having a crapola premise, you still gotta love these guys. I'd say watch it for them, but also check out the first movie.
A lot has happened in the intervening years. Simon for some reason made Matthau far more ethnically Jewish in this version which finds Oscar living in a senior citizens center writing for a local paper covering minor league baseball and indulging in his weekly pastime of penny ante poker with some contemporaries. He's still the same grouchy lovable slob he always was. I do love that bombs away scene with the garbage bags from his apartment, I can't say more.
And then he learns that his son is marrying his old roommate Felix's daughter and both are invited to the wedding out in Southern California. Enter Jack Lemmon who after making himself a royal pest to the crew on the New York flight to California meets up with Matthau where they rent a car and journey to the small southern California town all of which begin with either San or Los in their names. Don't believe me, look at a map of California and see what I'm talking about. That is after leaving Felix's plastic bag wrapped suitcase on the curb.
After that for a good half the picture Lemmon and Matthau are alone on the screen and that's what the movie-going public paid to see in 1998 in their last joint project. Two of the greatest comic actors and I say that and not comedians doing their best with some of the most impeccable timing and diction and in Matthau's case one of the most expressive faces in film history. Getting involved with a pair of rednecks and their slutty wives and getting into a car with an aged Barnard Hughes who just stops living and getting stuck with a truck of illegal immigrants are the three situations that put them in the jurisdiction of Sheriff Richard Riehl who gets tired of hosting these two in his jail.
Comes the wedding and the aftermath and all I can say there is Oscar as a sportswriter who covered the Yankees would be familiar with what Yogi Berra said about 'De Ja Vu all over again'.
Oscar and Felix they're back, they're better than ever and with both Lemmon and Matthau now gone, we're sadder for the fact they'll never return.
Anywho...It's a good movie and you should watch it
(kudos to you dad)
Here it simply doesn't work. I can't exactly put my finger on it but it seems that putting Oscar and Felix in a road trip movie is just an excuse to see how many senile old man jokes the director can come up with. First of all, they forget which town they are going to which isn't very funny to begin with. Then their car goes over a cliff, a joke that really belongs in a Warner Bros. cartoon and last they get arrested, not once but several times. Not very funny. Oh, yes I almost forgot about the driver who only goes about 2 miles an hour and then croaks. Ha Ha.
Lemmon was a multi-talent who could both be outrageously funny and dead serious and Matthau could deliver in both ways too, although he was always more of a comic actor. It's sad that they are both gone now and seeing this is like going to a carnival and discover that all the rides are broken.
So, what would you expect a sequel to the original Odd Couple film made in 1998 focus mostly on? As did I, sight-gags, comedy based on the inanity of events, and louder, broader instances of trouble rather than the quietly reserved humor based on dialog and setting that existed in the first film. To my surprise, however, was how much I liked The Odd Couple II. It's the definition of slight, doesn't do much in regards to a long-term impact, and it will certainly not be held by me as any masterwork. But as a final showcase of two amazing screen talents and the equivalent of a cinematic light-snack, I'll most certainly take it with a simple grin.
Lemmon and Matthau reprise their roles as the neurotic Felix and the often careless and messy Oscar, respectively, this time taking part on a road trip through the confusingly-named towns of California because Oscar's son is planning to wed Felix's daughter. When both men meet at the airport, this is their first sight of each other in seventeen years (or, since the events of the first film), and both haven't changed much at all. When we see Oscar still resides in a cluttered, messy home (only this time in Florida) playing poker with a new band, this time predominately older women, and Felix still uses his loud, obnoxious technique of clearing his sinuses as he is allergic to everything, we see that we, the audience, may have changed but these guys haven't.
After both take separate flights to California, they must get to San Malina in time for the big wedding. But after taking the completely opposite highway, losing their car, among a series of other events straight out of the unwritten book of road trip hijinks, the trip is made into an unbelievably long, convoluted state of affairs that test both men in ways they never thought possible.
Unsurprisingly, Lemmon and Matthau make the most out of this hit and miss material. Again, I was taken by their random conversations and simple talking points they'd bring up while walking aimlessly throughout the desert. I was amused by their snappy wordplay during calamitous instances. And finally, it was wonderful to see such energy among two great character actors. Here are two men just a few years away from their deaths and they're acting with more energy and vigor than those half their age. Consider Felix's tyrannical rant at Oscar in the desert before ultimately destroying their only means of transportation. I think I'd get winding trying to repeat that, but Lemmon does it with no hesitation.
Coming off of both Grumpy Old Men films, two pictures that still possess elements of escapism and realism, The Odd Couple II doesn't seem to quite hold up in that respect. The film plays like the second sequel to the series, but with more emphasis on screwball situations than conversational banter. I was kind of shocked when I saw writer Neil Simon wrote the film after writing the original picture to be the direct opposite from what this project would turn out to be. This only fuels my thoughts that this film was made for the money rather than the idea that more could be done with Felix and Oscar. The Odd Couple II provides for nice, passing entertainment (and works better than Lemmon and Matthau's previous effort Out to Sea), but it leaves one with the lingering question, "was it really necessary?"
Starring: Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Directed by: Howard Deutch.
These actors are actually more entertaining the older they get but unfortunately they have both died not so R.I.P both of you, they will be missed.
I love this film and is one of the many films I've searched for with them together since I watched the terrific grumpy and grumpier old men. This is a good film because of the chemistry and there characters, the story is decent and the whole theme generally works very well. And I think for the aforementioned reasons that this is actually much better than the first one, good job guys!
Oscar is still a Grumpy,Gambling Grouch....and Felix is still a fusspot allergic to everything - and both are reunited as they attempt to get to their Daughter and son's Wedding - but keep getting thwarted time after time by exploding rental cars, an elderly Car driver who dies on them, Redneck Husbands who end up kidnapping them and they end up getting arrested by the same despairing officer.
The Odd Couple 2 was the 10th and Sadly LAST Film to star both Matthau and Lemmon and was a Financial disappointment (It made less than $19M in it's entire U.S Theatrical run) and has been regarded as a mistake by many Critics (Professional and on IMDb)
Admittedly It doesn't reach the heights of the Original - But to be honest I can't see many people really expecting it to do so.
The Writing (again by Neil Simon) is Very Good and Matthau has loads of great one-liners sprinkled throughout delivered with his classic dead-pan charm, and both Matthau and Lemmon seem to be enjoying themselves.. Matthau was 77 & Lemon 72 at the time of Filming - so I guess This Movie was a 'Now or Never' project for them.
I won't say this was the BEST Movie I've ever seen, but it is a very enjoyable and pleasant movie to watch and it's great to see both stars, who are both no longer with us.
Sadly Matthau died two years later at the age of 79 and Lemmon died barely a year after Matthau at the age of 76.
***1/2 out of *****
The first half is practically a road movie with them travelling by car and Felix getting angry with Oscar for losing the directions,his suitcase and for getting lost out in the dessert.There are some hysterical moments especially the dead man the bird and the wig scene and Felix's suitcase rant.
Although I enjoyed this a lot I felt sad because they both look so old especially Walter and where are their poker friends?I can't be the only one who missed Murray and the guys.Not as good as the first one but a must see for how their story ends and what their like in their old age.
The movie under review teams the boys once again, 30 years later, for the impending marriage of their children. The action takes place in California rather than in New York and this time, it's a 'road' movie rather than a one-set play.
Surprisingly, it's a highly entertaining story with an excellent script which enables both of the boys to give full reign to their comic talents which have, if possible, improved over time! The supporting cast is fine but pushed somewhat into the background, not surprisingly. There are so many good scenes that one feels the need to watch the movie again quite soon, so I have no trouble in recommending it as a 'must see'.