The Odd Couple Ii

on April 10, 1998 by Dwayne E. Leslie
   Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau reunite to reprise their roles of Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, the odd couple. Now, three decades after the original movie (based on Neil Simon's Broadway play), Felix and Oscar are put in a situation where they must help each other to accomplish a common goal: to reach the wedding of their respective daughter and son on time and without ripping each other to pieces first. Journeying far from their familiar New York transit system and let loose on the back roads of California, the two characters begin a road adventure.
   Felix persists in his need to be neat and tidy, while those are two words that Oscar just remembers seeing in a dictionary. As the ultimate neat freak with hyper-allergic senses, Lemmon is right on the money again; Oscar is still a sportsaholic, his wit remaining razor sharp. Whether his Oscar is talking his way out of something or merely making a passing comment, Matthau makes the rapid-fire one-liners bring smiles to your face.
   An added dollop of humor comes from the duo's doomed rental car outing that becomes a hitchhike and then the slowest Rolls Royce ride in history, and it's all enough to make up for the film's problematic pacing, which takes audiences up and down like on a rollercoaster. And there's no stopping nostalgia from being rekindled as the theme music plays or audience affection from rising again as the mismatched pair make a comic mishmash of their ultimately unbreakable friendship.    Starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. Directed by Howard Deutch. Written by Neil Simon. Produced by Neil Simon, Robert W. Cort and David Madden. A Paramount release. Comedy. Rated PG-13 for brief strong language. Running time: 97 min.
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