The Grumpy Couple
"Grumpy Old Men" is a movie about two men behaving badly and rivalling each other over a woman. The thing is that from a storyline point of view it's not the most enthralling movie and with it being about senior citizens it's a little predictable. But then the fun of watching Jack Lemmon and Walther Matthau together in the 6th of 10 movies they appeared in together is what makes it entertaining, being old men behaving badly. In fact it is almost the shock of a mainly older cast which also includes Burgess Meredith behaving badly and saying things you don't expect which makes it memorably fun, well that and Ann-Margret delivering something akin to a sex kitten.
Neighbours John and Max (Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau) have been feuding since childhood, ever since John ended up with the woman Max was in love with and nothing stops these two senior citizens from sniping at each other on a daily basis. When the sexy Ariel Truax (Ann-Margret - The Train Robbers) moves into their neighbourhood it just increases the flames as both men take a shine to her, trying to out manoeuvre each other in grabbing her affections.
Before I start I have to say that as a whole "Grumpy Old Men" is entertaining but at the same time it doesn't have the strongest of storylines. Ignore all the arguing and pranks that John and Max play on each other and what you have left is a simple romantic love triangle with them both fancying Ariel. There may be a bit of history repeating itself as that was how the feud started over 50 years ago but it is not that complex. And unsurprisingly with this being a movie about older people we have various typical elements surrounding old age and death although you have to love the fact that John's father is still alive and goes ice fishing with him.
What that really means is that "Grumpy Old Men" becomes a movie mainly about all the humour of old men behaving badly. And it is simply fun the way John and Max bicker when they meet up outside their homes or how they play pranks on each other from smelly dead fish to tampering with the other's TV. Much of what works is thanks to the fact we have Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau starring together and so when they bicker there is also a sense of familiarity and friendship which comes through. There is also the shock factor of hearing Jack Lemmon saying he's laid more pipe than anyone or Burgess Meredith encouraging him to bone Ariel and trust me you will want to watch the outtakes over the final credits because they are hilarious with so many euphemisms used for sex cropping up.
Talking of sex or at least sexy, Ann-Margret is also a reason why "Grumpy Old Men" ends up entertaining because she has this almost sex kitten thing going on. From the way she prowls around both John and Max to the lust for life Ann-Margret makes Ariel a vibrant, sexy woman who could cause young men to have palpitations let alone older ones.
What this all boils down to is that "Grumpy Old Men" is an entertaining and memorable movie but it is less to do with the story than because of the cast and the humour. Just watching Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon behaving badly is hilarious and throw in a seductively sexy Ann-Margret in to the mix and it becomes unforgettable.