This is a corker of a film for Matthau fans. I came across this late one night on TV and have always been fond of it. The 'Survivalist' motif and plight of the everyman running through the film is as relevant today as it was when it was made, the tone being set with some nice satire from Randy Newman- "Every Man a King" opens the movie.
Robin Williams and Matthau are thrown together when they witness and unwittingly prevent a hold up. Both men soon lose their jobs- in a cracking scene Williams is sacked by his boss's parrot. Williams becomes increasingly insecure and turns to survivalists, convinced he is being tracked by the thwarted hold up guy who inists he is 'the man who killed Jimmy Hoffa' - a comically sinister performance from Jack Locke. The film is a bit slaptsick and clumsy at times and there are some clunky bits of dialogue and a familiar undone villain scenario is played out. The main female character - Matthau's teenage daughter is more interesting than most- Kristin Viigard plays a well balanced and laid back character completely unfazed by the overwrought adults and events around her.
But it is the Matthau-Williams friendship that endures and eventually emerges as the central theme. Matthuau tracks his friend down to a survivalist camp where it emerges the inhabitants are being ripped off by the survivalist leader. In the final scene the Williams character breaks down and strips naked in the frozen wilderness saying to Matthau "I don't know whats real any more" - Matthau's response is to take off his coat and wrap it around Williams "I'm real" he says. Cranky film at times, but also warm, tender and at the end there, quite touching.