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Neil Simon's the Odd Couple II [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
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Mike Nichols directed the 1965 stage production of Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, but while Nichols went on to become a vitally intelligent director of contemporary comedy, Simon's career thrived in the 1970s and 80s before dwindling towards sentimental fluff like this amusing but mildly disappointing sequel. Closer to Grumpy Old Men than the wry wit of Simon's original play and 1968 screen adaptation, the movie finds former roommates Oscar (Walter Matthau) and Felix (Jack Lemmon) reluctantly reuniting for the wedding of Oscar's son to Felix's daughter. When they get sidetracked in California, the road-movie formula unleashes the comedic chemistry of Lemmon and Matthau (which alone makes the movie worthwhile), but it's too casual to match the original's depth or dramatic foundation. Simon and Grumpy director Howard Deutch could have deepened the Oscar-Felix relationship to make it funnier and more emotionally involving, but instead they've played it safe with some good laughs in the kind of sketch comedy that Nichols would avoid. Simon's capable of much better than this, but Lemmon-Matthau fans will have a good time anyway. --Jeff Shannon
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Top Customer Reviews
The storyline is just as simple, Felix and Oscar haven't seen each other since Oscar threw Felix out of the apartment when he cleaned it up (The Odd Couple), Oscar gets a letter from his son Brucie inviting him to his wedding in California, on arrival at the airport, Oscar suddenly realises the awful truth, that Brucie is to marry Felix's daughter. Worse, he bumps in Felix at the airport. Worse still, Felix persuades him to share a car to get to the wedding. And just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any worse, Felix is just as insfferable whilst Oscar is just as short tempered as either of them ever were.
The film follows their journey to the wedding including encounters with two "ladies" in a bar, a run in with a gang of drug smugglers, and the increasingly exasperated local sheriff. Some of the jokes are very old, but Matthau and Lemmon given them a rare freshness. The increasingly stressful look on Matthau's face as the film progresses is sheer perfection.
I laughed out loud from start to finish, exactly as I had done with the first film.
Will get this one out and watch it every time i need an uplift.
Cant recommend it highly enough.