Odd Couple to the end.
Max Goldman: Good morning, dickhead. Grumpy Old Men
John Gustafson: Hello, moron.
is a 1993 comedy starring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau. It features two, well, grumpy old men
, John Gustafson (Lemmon) and Max Goldman (Matthau) who've been neighbors for over 50 years and bickering for most of it, all the while ice fishing on the local lake and putting up with their kids (John's daughter Melanie, played by Daryl Hannah
, and Max's son Jacob, played by Kevin Pollak) and John's nonagenarian father (Burgess Meredith). Then the pair's lives are turned upside down by a new neighbor named Ariel (Ann-Margret), and their old feud goes all out to try and win her hand.
The movie's success spawned a sequel, Grumpier Old Men
, which gave Max a love interest in Maria (Sophia Loren
), and revived the old Lemmon-Matthau tandem for one more run in the '90s, including movies such as The Grass Harp
, Out To Sea
, and The Odd Couple II
, thirty years after their original movie together.note
Not to be confused with the British talk show of the same name.
This film and its sequel provide examples of:
- Badass Grandpa: Grandpa Gustafson definitely counts.
- Brick Joke: The dead fish in Max's truck
- Cut a Slice, Take the Rest: Variant - John brings beer to his dad at his ice shanty. Grandpa takes one out of the six-pack and hands it to John, then takes the rest inside and shuts the door.
- Dirty Old Man: Grandpa Gustafson had more Unusual Euphemisms for sex than your average Fark.com thread. In other words, when it comes to women and for an old man, he has an abnormally perverted obsession with sex, even revealed clearly just by his kinky remarks.
- The outtakes during the credits roll highlights this, with his using fictional Hawaiian islands as a means of seduction (e.g. "Imakindakinky")
- Disproportionate Retribution: Max destroys John's ice shanty because he thought John was stealing Ariel away from him like he did with May (who John says was no good for him anyway).
- Exact Words: John kisses Ariel after a nice evening at his house, surprising her and himself. She backs off and says it's time for bed, then heads for the door. After berating himself ("Dumb, dumb, dumb.") he follows her to apologize:
John: Ariel, I... *sees her locking the door* I thought you said...
Ariel: I said, "It's time for bed."
- Foreshadowing: At the beginning of the movie, the two talk about what are comfortable ways to die. John comments that strokes are terrible and he'd rather have a cardiac arrest any day. Guess what happens towards the end of the movie.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: All of the bologna rhetoric that Max gives Henry Snydor (an IRS Agent) when questioned about the persisting absence of John Gustafson, even in front of him. The truth is, even as much as he hates him, Max is merciful enough to John to not turn him in right on the spot when trying to run away from them. Max lies to Snydor in front of John by telling him a bunch of insensible baloney where that John Gustafson is a totally insane psychopath to the point where he was always busy hanging around men's strip joints whenever he's on medication, where that without it he walks around talking to the trees. It is unquestionable as to whether or not Snydor buys it, because of his response. He however responds by giving them a number to contact him if they spot him. When he departs, John shows Max his disgust about what he said about him to cover up his identity, and Max finds it funny.
- Grumpy Old Man: Many of them, naturally. Max and John are the main ones, but there's also Chuck and John's father.
- Hilarious Outtakes: The first film has an epic blooper reel before the credits, including a great stinger:
Jack Lemmon (in a bathtub): If I had know there was gonna be a nude scene in this picture, I would've asked for another million.
- Hollywood Heart Attack: John has one to start out the third act, outside in the snow, all alone.
- Hurricane of Euphemisms: The outtakes feature take after take of Burgess Meredith making euphemisms for Chuck getting some action.
- Intimidating Revenue Service: The first movie's subplot involves the IRS repossessing John's house to pay back taxes.
- Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Ariel.
- Mood Whiplash: Does a serious turn when Chuck dies.
- Minnesota Nice: Averted, with the titular duo spending all of their time insulting each other and pulling cruel pranks at one another's expense. Or maybe just played with, as by the end they're shown to be Vitriolic Best Buds.
- Nice Jewish Boy: Max's son Jacob is this trope, he is running for Mayor and the Straight Man to his Father regarding the pranks Max and John pull on one another, and is quite the stand up guy.
- Refuge in Audacity: Ariel introduces herself to John in this way, stealing his mail, inviting herself over to his place, all to find out more about him. She gets away with it because she's gorgeous.
- The Reveal: John has a heart attack and is very weak in the hospital talking to Ariel. That's the last we see of him, up until the end, where Jake, Max, and John's dad talk reverently about him outside of a church, leading the viewer to believe he's dead. But then they pull off their coats inside to reveal tuxes; what the viewer believes is John's funeral is actually his wedding to Ariel.
- Shipper on Deck: As much as he fights with Max, John seems perfectly okay with the idea of Max's son liking his (John's) daughter. Although that might just be because he hates Melanie's estranged husband, and knows that Jacob is a genuinely nice guy.
- Max is doing the same thing to Jacob about Melanie.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Several examples, but the crowning one has to be a cheery little polka number going on after Max loses his beloved Green Hornet fishing pole under the ice, and searches despondently (and hopelessly) for it. Naturally, John later fishes it up and anonymously returns it to him.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: John pokes fun at Max for being ugly and said that Jacob is lucky to inherit his Mom's looks rather than his father, otherwise he wouldn't be on the ballot for Mayor.
- Villainy-Free Villain: Snyder of the IRS is just doing his job, trying to collect back taxes John owes. And (off-screen) he is actually fairly reasonable - Jacob talks him into waiving the late fees if the original amount owed is paid. Doesn't stop Max from insulting him and playing a few hilarious practical jokes on him.
Max: Hey, Snyder, why don't you do the world a favor? Pull your lip over your head and swallow!
Snyder: Ha ha! (under his breath) Asshole.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Despite their incessant jabs at each other, John and Max are actually really old friends.