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Film / Grumpier Old Men

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(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 is a sequel to Grumpy Old Men from two years prior.

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 that 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 that 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's also notable as the swan song for actor Burgess Meredith, who reprised his role as 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:

  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Tons between Max and Maria.
    Maria:: Ox!
    Max: Nag!
  • Bilingual Bonus: Maria and her mother both speak a fair amount of Italian.
  • Borrowed Catchphrase: Max and Maria steal each other's catchphrases during their love scene.
    Max: Mamma mia!
    Maria: Holy moly!
  • Burial at Sea: Well, burial at lake, anyway, for Grandpa Gustafson, whose ashes are scattered in the lake after God finally remembers him.
  • Call-Back: Maria repeats Max's "I'd rather kiss a dead moose's butt" from the first movie.
    • In the first film, Max put a dead fish in John and Ariel’s car after their wedding as a joke. In this one, John returns the favor by sneaking a dog into Max and Maria’s car after their wedding.
  • The Catfish: A subplot involves Max and John trying to catch the "Catfish Hunter," a massive catfish that they've been after for decades. They finally catch it near the end of the movie, but throw it back in the lake to be with John's father, who'd been trying to catch it even longer.
  • Continuity Nod: "I'd rather kiss a dead moose's butt".
  • December–December Romance: Max and Maria are both in their golden years as they fall in love. Grandpa Gustafson and Mama Ragetti as well.
  • Dirty Old Man: Grandpa Gustafson takes it up to eleven. Maybe even up to twelve with his shenanigans with Maria's mother.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Max, when Maria talks to him in the bar. He gets better.
  • Head-Turning Beauty: Maria has this effect on every man around her. We first see it in the grocery store where she runs into Max and one rubber-necking man is pulled away by his displeased wife. Later when she shows up at the bar wearing a red dress with a good amount of cleavage, she again evokes this reaction from everyone there.
  • Hilarious Outtakes: A blooper reel precedes the credits again, like with the last film. A fairly large portion was Burgess Meredith's sexual innuendos.
  • Ironic Echo: Early on in the film, Grandpa Gustafson muses about his advanced age, saying "Sometimes I wonder if... God forgot about me." He eventually remembers.
  • 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.
  • My Own Private "I Do": Jacob and Melanie reveal they chose to elope after it's shown the wedding at the end is really for Max and Maria.
  • Serial Spouse: It's revealed in the climax that Maria has been married and divorced five times. Though it's due to dirtbag husbands rather than being promiscuous.
  • Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome: Allie (Melanie's daughter) appears to be around two or three years old in the first film, but in the sequel, which only takes place six months later, she looks to be around five or six.
  • 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 that they eloped beforehand.
  • "Shaggy Frog" Story: Grandpa tells John about how he's managed to outlive doctors who told him he'd die in his 60s from smoking and eating copious amounts of bacon, then wonders if "God forgot about me" before shrugging it off and saying "Well, it just goes to show you." John points out that saying that implies that the story had some kind of message, but Grandpa tells him it doesn't, he just likes telling it.
  • Silver Fox: Ann-Margret reprises her role as Ariel, and Maria is played by the equally gorgeous Sophia Loren.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Again John likes to make fun of Max's looks, who later marries Maria. It's even lampshaded by her mother.
    Mrs. Ragetti: My son-in-law got the face of a mackerel.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Following the first film, Max and John seem to have settled their relationship here. Their feud briefly goes hot again per Mistaken for Cheating, but after Grandpa Gustafson's death, they bury the hatchet once and for all.
  • Wedding Bells... for Someone Else: At the end, we're made to think that it's Jacob's wedding, but it's really Max and Maria's.