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‘Grumpier Old Men’

By Kevin McManus
Washington Post Staff Writer
December 22, 1995


Howard Deutch
Jack Lemmon;
Walter Matthau;
Sophia Loren;
Kevin Pollak;
Daryl Hannah
Children under 13 should be accompanied by a parent

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More like greedier old men. How else to explain Jack Lemmon's and Walter Matthau's participation in this silly sequel?

Mark Steven Johnson's screenplay is about as sophisticated as an old "Green Acres" episode, as best pals and next-door neighbors Lemmon and Matthau indulge their friendship by perpetuating the harmless feud they began in the 1993 original.

In this outing, they scheme to close down the Italian eatery that has replaced their favorite bait shop. Just when it appears they've vanquished the restaurateur (Sophia Loren), Matthau decides he's got a crush on her. Meantime, the pals worry about a fight between Matthau's son (Kevin Pollak) and Lemmon's daughter (Daryl Hannah), lovers who've split up on the eve of their wedding.

The movie has its amusing moments, mainly those in which insults fly between the old foes. Matthau, responding to Lemmon's boast about his own fishing prowess, snaps, "You couldn't catch crabs from a 20-dollar hooker." And Burgess Meredith grabs some guffaws as Lemmon's salty, sex-addled dad. His one-liners, alas, are too smutty to reprint here.

What makes the movie a dud is the sheer laziness of its creators. They don't bother to craft plausible explanations for many key circumstances. Why do the old guys object to the restaurant? What makes the gorgeous, worldly Loren lust for the homely, oafish Matthau?

Despite his occasional witticisms, the old grump is no great catch, and neither is this movie.

Rated PG-13. Sexually suggestive humor.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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