Felix and Oscar are back, Jack! And boy are they an odd couple. Thirty years after becoming antagonistic roommates (and yet still friends, aww) they are reunited when their children announce their engagement. Traveling together to the wedding they just can’t seem to keep out of trouble. Will they make the wedding before it’s too late? Find out in The Odd Couple II.
How?! Oscar Madison is living it up in Florida, still a slob and still killing it with the ladies. When his son announces that he’s getting married in just a week, Oscar is shocked to find out that the lucky lady is his friend Felix Unger’s daughter. They meet up in California after thirty long years and start their roadtrip off on all the wrong feet. First Oscar loses Felix’s luggage, then Oscar loses the directions to the wedding, and finally they accidentally destroy their rental car. They get picked up by a truck driving to the nearest town, but in a kooky happenstance get arrested when it’s found that the truck is being used for smuggling. Released by the police, they first live it up with a couple of party girls before catching a ride in an excruciatingly slow car driven by an extremely old man. The old man dies, of course, and Felix and Oscar find themselves arrested again (getting the gist of the gag here?). Released again they catch a bus, but get stopped when the husbands of the party girls take them off the bus by gunpoint. This of course ends with them getting arrested again (of course). Fed up, the police personally drive them to the airport where they catch a plane to the wedding and meet up with Oscar’s ex-sister-in-law, Felice, who Felix takes a liking to. Finally at the wedding they help douse some last minute drama and happily watch their children get married. They say goodbye at the airport, with Oscar going back to Florida and Felix going to stay with Felice. But in a shocking twist we find that this all doesn’t work out and Felix shows up in Florida asking to stay with Oscar. At first he’s like “no” but eventually is like “yes.” Thus setting us up for the sequel (or not). THE END.
Why?! Unlike the original there is a clear mission here: they need to get to the wedding. End of story. In the original we have a sitcom setup, but really the motivation for both Oscar and Felix is to come to terms with their divorces and move on with their lives in a healthy way (which they do through the power of friendship, aww). But here they aren’t really coming to terms with anything… other than getting to that goddamn wedding.
Who?! This is actually a tough category as it’s a bit of a two man show. The only kinda interesting thing is that both Felix and Oscar’s wives have remarried between the first and second film. Felix’s wife’s new name is Povitch… which I can’t really see a connection to. Oscar’s wife’s new name is Melnick, which does seem to connect to Daniel Melnick, a producer who produced one of Neil Simon’s films and also apparently played poker with him.
What?! There are a number of product placements in the film. Probably my favorite was Budget, because they not only very prominently displayed the logo, but then Oscar proceeded to keep on talking about how Budget would probably send Felix his luggage in the new age of technology… in my head he screams about Budget like a thousand times, but probably he only said it once or twice.
Where?! It’s a California sandwich with Florida as the bread. It’s a very good California film because they keep on harping on how all the towns sound the same and how they need to learn a new language if they lived there and stuff. This is obviously offensive, but also interesting because Oscar lives in a retirement community in Florida. So really it just indicates how infrequently he must leave that community in order to be shocked by the prominence of Spanish in California. B+
When?! Gotta give this an F or an incomplete because I do not recall there being a clear indication for when this took place. Seems like summer given the weather and the fact that Matthau is writing about minor league baseball in Florida, but I didn’t catch any other clear indication of the date. Not like we see a wedding invitation. His own son only tells him about the wedding a week in advance.
Meh, I mean… I guess it is what it is. It’s kind of a shame that this was the sequel they went with. I almost would have preferred they scrapped all the wedding shit and just did another Odd Couple. Felix shows up in Florida after his fourth divorce. Oscar is coming to terms with being old. And through the power of friendship they are able to settle into their new lives. Somehow the film convinced me that I would have rather they harped MORE on them being old. Like… them being old is actually not really that big a part of the film. Which is really weird because they are quite old. Also if I hadn’t watched the original film in preparation (shocker: it’s good) then I would have said that Walter Matthau was just starting to babble a bit because most of his jokes seem improvised and don’t make any sense… but he’s kinda like that in the original too. Just seems like maybe it was part of his cranky, everyman charm. Spouting zingers, even if the zingers don’t always make sense. Patrick?
‘Ello everyone! If I made this movie I would call it The Old Couple. Heyyyyyyooooooooooooooooooooooo!!! Let’s go!
P’s View on the Preview – I had actually never seen the original The Odd Couple, but you can obviously know it by reputation. I managed to grow up during the peak old-people-as-protagonist era of Hollywood comedies, so I became quite familiar with Matthau and Lemmon’s later work. I like them both a lot, so I expected to like the original at the very least. What were my expectations? I expected to find the film very old school, not funny, and odd. It is abundantly obviously the film is a classic roadtrip comedy … but like why is The Odd Couple a roadtrip comedy now? Bizarre choice.
The Good – Matthau and Lemmon are indeed very very charming. You can tell that both of them are really on their last legs as far as acting is concerned, but they still seem to have it and their chemistry is undeniable. There are a few amusing parts here and there, especially if you ignore that it is, you know … a sequel to The Odd Couple for no discernible reason.
The Bad – Uh, why is this a roadtrip comedy? It is just such a glaringly bizarre choice! The original film might as well have been a single set play. And now you take these characters out into the wider world? And not only that, but the world is somehow a very cartoony version of California. A version of California where not only are our heroes utterly lost in its wide openness, but then can’t help but stumble right back into the same town over and over again? Just set the film in an old folks home! Just set the film in Florida. Really, just do anything but this. It also has to be, bar none, the shortest third act in history. Once they get to the wedding it is about 10 minutes of nonsense and then the movie ends.
The BMT – Pop it in there with some of the bad sequels we watched. I also hope it’ll get us to run through the old-people-as-protagonists genre really quickly. There are only a dozen or so examples, with only a few qualifying, so it should be easy enough. Cocoon: The Return here we come! Did it meet my expectations? Unfortunately yes. The only real thing that sinks the film is the choice to make it a roadtrip comedy. I bet it gets a kind of middling “not very funny, but charming nonetheless” review if it was just The Odd Couple in a nursing home.
Roast-radamus – I do need to give a shout out for What an Odd Couple! (Who?) as this is obviously the oddest of all odd couples. A nice minor Product Placement (What?) for Budget rent-a-car which is basically a character in the beginning of the film. Definitely a nice Setting as a Character (Where?) for California. It is so crazy it just throws our heroes for a loop over and over again. I’m not going for any of the others as they are too much of a stretch. I also doubt it’ll get any of the superlatives either.
StreetCreditReport.com – It was nominated for two Stinkers that year (worst sequel, and worst comedy), but won neither. It was also picked by Siskel and Ebert for their worst of list of 1998. There aren’t many other lists, but it could just be the worst sequel to a movie based on a play that itself was not based on a play. Think about that for about ten seconds.
You Just Got Schooled – Naturally when watching the sequel one must watch the original The Odd Couple from 1968. The film is completely driven by Matthau and Lemmon obviously, and their chemistry is, like with the sequel, incredible. The script is razor sharp and surprisingly heartfelt throughout. The major complaint is that the arguments are a little too real, to the point that it makes me a bit uncomfortable at times. Also, it is a bit shocking to realize that this film came out a year after The Graduate. The type of direction is just so starkly different. This is the more old school stage play style of filmmaking, which is interesting to watch on the verge of the 70s style that was about to come into style. The film is a classic. A.