The Odd Couple II (1998) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

The Odd Couple II comes nearly three decades after the original classic. You’d figure during those intervening 30 years writer Neil Simon would have had enough time to come up with a story worth telling. That is sadly not the case. The typically strong writing from Simon is absent throughout most of this laborious sequel that has a few good quips but is overall a big disappointment. The screenplay is structured in an episodic nature and the jokes are on the level of a mediocre sitcom. The only bit of fun comes from the usually ornery Walter Matthau stepping back into his most famous role.

Oscar (Matthau) and Felix (Lemmon) are reunited after seventeen years because of the impending nuptials of their children. Felix’s daughter is set to marry Oscar’s son and the fathers are tasked with driving from the airport to a small Southern California suburb. Of course, things don’t work out that simply for the old friends. Complications and contrivances pile up as the pair encounter modest obstacles on the way to their kid’s wedding. The lame story tries too hard in setting up unfunny situations and unnecessary supporting characters.

It seems that after the success of Grumpy Old Men and the renewed popularity of its stars that Simon figured it would be a good time to strike while he still had the opportunity. So it’s a bit depressing to witness that The Odd Couple II is the least enjoyable of the late Matthau/Lemon match-ups. Matthau/Lemmon completists will be the only who find amusement in this over-long cash grab. The Odd Couple II is an unworthy addition to the classic play and film that precedes it.

Director: Howard Deutch
Stars: Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Christine Baranski

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