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LEMMON & MATTHAU MATCHUP: OUT TO SEA SINKS ODD COUPLE 2

title: OUT TO SEA year: 1997 rating: ***1/2
OUT TO SEA: After the successful and genuinely funny GRUMPY OLD MEN, the dynamic duo of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau was rejuvenated, and this entertaining comedy keeps that spark alive. The next year they’d appear in the horrific sequel to THE ODD COUPLE, and this could have/should have been that movie: because Lemmon, as widower Herb Sullivan, and Matthau, as free-spirited gambler Charlie Gordon, couldn’t be more different.

Matthau and Lemmon
The one thing they had in common was Herb’s wife – Charlie’s sister. And Charlie thinks his friend has to move on so he books them both on a luxury liner. There’s a catch: both will work as “dance hosts” to entertain rich old ladies. Perfect for Charlie who’s always ready to swindle – and Dyan Cannon is a likely candidate.  Herb has his sites on another lady but he can’t let go of the past. And although their ages are showing (Matthau’s way too old for Cannon and Lemmon seems a bit tired throughout), both make a fine pair. Although this is really Matthau’s film: his con-man tactics are far more involving than Lemmon’s sultry apprehension, but it’s Brent Spiner… Data from STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION… who really steals the show. Playing the prissy cruise director running the dance hosts with an iron fist, he also hits the stage with cheesy renditions of lounge tunes – that’s when he’s not chewing out the minions including Hal Linden and Donald O’Connor. Spiner’s character is so fun to hate, the characters have to constantly remind us how bad he is: just in case we forget. And although the ending gets a bit convoluted – everyone splitting apart till they land back together again – this is a fun trip with two legendary icons that should have called it quits at sea.

Odd Couple 2 year: 1998  *
Brent Spiner
REVIEW OF THE ODD COUPLE 2
: The sound of a trumpet played by a pro is rich, vibrant, and beautiful. The sound of the trumpet's mouthpiece, no matter who's playing it, sounds like a... raspberry. That's exactly what this film, the sequel to the classic THE ODD COUPLE, is. Plot has Felix Unger (Lemmon) and Oscar Madison (Matthau) on a car trip to the wedding of Oscar's son and Felix's wife.

Neil Simon throws in every road-comedy cliché and then some: basically TRAINS, PLANES AND AUTOMOBILES without the humor. But the main problem is, Felix isn't really a futz and Oscar isn't really a slob... or maybe we just can't tell because they're on the road overcoming "obstacles" instead of living together so that their differences stand out. Thus the duo is hardly at odds because they're in the same boat (car) and have to rely on each other: killing the premise of not getting along because of contrasting personalities. This catastrophe... possibly the worst sequel ever conceived... should have never seen the light of day. And it's unnecessary to boot: GRUMPY OLD MEN was great enough to quench our Matthau/Lemmon thirsts.
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