I don’t know that a lot of people will come out to defend The Odd Couple II. I’m not sure people even remember it. Despite Neil Simon’s (very late) return to beloved characters Felix Ungar and Oscar Madison, the film appears more like a Grumpy Old Men cash grab (similar to Out to Sea) than a celebrated return to Simon, Lemmon and Matthau’s classic.
So no, it’s not a very good movie. Nevertheless, there is still some magic with this trio. The Odd Couple II narratively functions as a road trip gone to hell as Oscar and Felix race from one disaster to another on their way to their children's marriage - yes Oscar’s son is marrying Felix’s daughter.
That’s a fine set up for grumpy shenanigans, which is exactly what we get. It grows tiresome after a while, but Matthau and Lemmon cannot help but be good together, even when repeating the same basic argument over and over again.
One scene, however, stands out:
After all the arguments leading up to this point, it’s surprising one can still have a little heat behind it. But this wonderful, hilarious explosion out of Jack Lemmon succeeds thanks in no small part to a perfectly executed F-bomb in the middle of what has otherwise been a purely PG-level film.
It’s a little thing, but it’s also the most alive this film ever gets. And unlike the rest of the movie, it’s the one bit I find myself revisiting on occasion. For a moment, The Odd Couple II gets real, and it is glorious.