Film: Grumpier Old Men

(singing)I just met a girl named Maria! And now I plainly see, she's not the bitch I thought she would be!
Max Goldman

Grumpier Old Men is a 1995 romantic comedy, directed by Howard Deutch. It was a sequel to a previous film Grumpy Old Men (1993).

Lifelong-rivals Max Goldman (Walter Matthau) and John Gustafson (Jack Lemmon) are now reluctant friends, with their children engaged to each other, and Gustafson enjoying his still-recent marriage to Ariel Truax (Ann Margret). Both aging men are looking forward to the opening of the fishing season in their native Wabasha, Minnesota, to engage in their annual hunt of the "Catfish Hunter", the lake's largest catfish. To their disappointment, they learn that the only local bait shop is closing; Maria Ragetti (Sophia Loren), its new owner, is converting it to an Italian restaurant.

The two guys start trying to sabotage her efforts, hoping the establishment will remain a bait shop, but this enrages Ariel, who forces her husband to apologize to Maria. Unfortunately, his idea of apologizing involves sharing a bottle of brandy with the lady. He ends up sleeping the entire night in the restaurant, infuriating Ariel who concludes he is having an affair, and annoying Max who finds himself attracted to Maria. Maria herself is reluctant to have a new romance; she has had five failed marriages, and is not looking forward to a sixth. Meanwhile, the kids (Kevin Pollak and Daryl Hannah) have relationship problems of their own.

The film was a modest box office hit, earning $71,518,503 in the United States market. It was the 20th most successful film of its year. It was a swan song for actor Burgess Meredith (1907-1997) who was playing John's father. Meredith had to retire from acting due to the effects from Alzheimer's disease and had trouble even completing this film.

This film contains examples of:

  • Bilingual Bonus: Maria and her mother both speak a fair amount of Italian.
  • Continuity Nod: "I'd rather kiss a dead moose's butt".
  • Dirty Old Man: Grandpa Gustafson takes it Up to Eleven.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Max, when Maria talks to him in the bar. He gets better.
  • Hilarious Outtakes
  • Mistaken for Cheating: John Gustafson. He spent the night with Maria but they were drunk and sleeping, not having sex.
  • Mood Whiplash: Goes from a goofy comedy to incredibly sad when Grandpa Gustafson dies.
    • Which is a mirror to the first movie when Chuck dies.
  • Really Gets Around: It's revealed in the climax that Maria has been married and divorced five times.
  • The Reveal: Jake is ambivalent about marrying Melanie, but it appears that he finally decided to marry her in the end...until it's revealed at the church that the wedding isn't Jake and Melanie's, but Max's and Maria's. They even lampshade it by mentioning they eloped beforehand.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Again John likes to make fun of Max's looks, who later marries Maria, it's lampshaded by her mother even.
    Mrs. Ragetti: My son-in-law got the face of a mackerel
  • Wedding Day: We're made to think it's Jacob's wedding, but it's really Max and Maria's.