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The debate about sequels is probably one of the most heated discussions in the world of movies. Some people believe that original films should be left alone, as sequels never deliver. On the other hand, there are others (myself included) who think sequels are a good idea, as long as they are handled correctly. Take for example Aliens, which in my opinion is better than the original movie. Well that leads me onto The Odd Couple II, which was released exactly thirty years after the original. Many people considered the original to be a classic, and were pessimistic when they heard about the follow-up. Read on to see which side of the sequel debate The Odd Couple II belongs to.

Odd Couple 2, The
Movie
The Odd Couple II is set seventeen years after the events of the first movie. Oscar (Walter Matthau) and Felix (Jack Lemmon), known as ‘the odd couple’ have not seen each since they ‘fell out’ while being flatmates. Oscar now lives in Florida, and hasn’t changed much since the first movie. He still enjoys gambling with his friends, and is as untidy as ever! One day, while he is hosting a card game, he receives a surprise phone call from his son Brucey (Jonathan Silverman). Brucey tells his father that he is getting married. At first Oscar is a little apprehensive about the news, as he didn’t even know that his son was dating. However he quickly comes around to the idea, and is excited by the prospect of attending the wedding. Things turn a little sour though when Brucey reveals who his father-in-law is going to be. It doesn’t take a scientist to realise that it could only be one man!

That’s right, Felix and Oscar are going to be related. Since the first movie Felix has moved to New York. His consistent moaning and obsessive tidiness is still highly annoying to others. Since the original movie, Oscar has married again and divorced the same women in the space of a few days. Felix and Oscar meet up at Los Angeles International Airport. The pair have organised to rent a car and drive to San Malina for the wedding. This is where things start going wrong for them. Firstly Felix manages to leave his suitcase behind in Los Angeles. Normally that wouldn’t be too much of a problem, but the case contains wedding presents and a large amount of cash. In between realising their mistake the pair manage to get lost. Even if they want to go back to Los Angeles, they can’t because they don’t know where they are! The rest of the movie revolves around their attempt to get to the wedding.

Odd Couple 2, The
I am going to put my head on the chopping board here, and say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie. Many reviews I have seen criticise the sequel for being completely different to the original film. I would have to agree on that point. Apart from the title and characters, the movie is nothing like the original, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. Considering that the sequel was made thirty years later, it is not a great surprise to find that the style of the film has evolved with the changes in peoples’ sense of humour. The Odd Couple II is a road trip movie, but with OAP’s! The humour provided is very much in line with recent comedies like American Pie and Road Trip. Matthau and Lemmon are not afraid to perform silly set pieces. The film reminded me a lot of the 80s movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles, and in my book that’s a good thing. I was even shocked to hear the pair swear several times in the movie, which would have been unheard of in the 60’s. The real star of the movie is Walter Matthau. He walks around like an eighty year old, but has the attitude and energy of someone 60 years younger. The character of Oscar is a womaniser and a tease, which only Walter Matthau could have pulled it off in such an expert manner. Jack Lemmon is also pretty competent, but there is no doubting that Matthau is the real star.

If you fancy watching a film which will make you laugh, and doesn’t require much concentration, then The Odd Couple II is the film for you. Knowledge of the first movie is not necessary, so it is just a case of sitting back ready for the fun to begin. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon reprise their roles as Oscar and Felix, but to be honest the movie reminded me more of their previous effort, Grumpy Old Men. The Odd Couple II is a couple of hours of harmless fun, which is not meant to be taken seriously. The jokes come thick and fast, with no time to pause for breath. I wasn’t expecting much from this movie, but after viewing it I was pleasantly surprised. Definitely worth watching!

Odd Couple 2, The
Video
I have reviewed a few Paramount discs recently and something which has struck me about them is the first class transfers that they provide on region two discs. The Odd Couple II is no exception. The movie is presented in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen. The movie is not that old, so a reasonable transfer would be expected. There is no sign of damage to the print and it is artefact free. Colours are vibrant and true, which is good considering that a large percentage of the movie is shot outdoors. The dreaded edge enhancements are thankfully non-existent, and skin tones seem accurate. Grain levels vary, but never really spoil viewing pleasure. Overall a first class transfer.

Sound
Paramount have provided us with an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, but to be honest a less competent track would have been acceptable. The movie is completely dialogue driven, so there is no real use for the rear speakers. Rears are used a few times during the movie, but don’t really add anything to the scenes. Considering the type of film, it is essential that the dialogue is clear throughout. Well, no problems there! We are given a precise display by the front speakers, with voices always audible and clear. The disc also has soundtracks in German, Spanish, French and Italian and there are eleven different subtitles to compliment these.

Odd Couple 2, The
Extras
As for extras, sadly we are only supplied with a theatrical trailer. The trailer is full screen, and reasonably entertaining. Many people will buy this release only for the movie, and it is hard to see that there are many extras that could have been included. Given that Paramount normally reserve their extras for high profile releases, it comes as no surprise to find just the trailer on this disc.

Overall
The Odd Couple II may not be the great sequel that fans were expecting, but as a standalone film it is a great laugh. Humour has changed a lot in the past thirty years, and this sequel seemed to be targeted more at the younger generations. Crude jokes and silly sketches mean that the film should raise more than a few laughs. Walter Matthau continues to perform at the top level even though he looks weaker with every film he does. His performance in this movie is worth the DVD purchase alone. As for the disc we are treated to a superb transfer, with a competent soundtrack. Extras are sparse, but would you have really watched them anyway? Before this reading this review you probably wouldn’t have known the movie existed, but believe me after watching it you will be glad you have done so.  


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