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Odd Couple II (DVD)
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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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