Grumpy Old Men/Grumpier Old Men
- Street Date:
- February 23rd, 2010
- Reviewed by:
- Matthew Hartman
- Review Date: 1
- January 15th, 2015
- Movie Release Year:
- Warner Brothers
- 204 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
Please welcome Matthew Hartman to High-Def Digest!
A product of the 80s, Matthew grew up obsessively watching 'Conan The Barbarian', 'The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly', and 'Ninja Turtles' while reading an ever increasing collection of comic books. As a graduate of the film studies department from Columbia College Chicago, Matthew honed his love for visual media to near epic capabilities. Today he works as an internet journalist and freelance SEO website content writer while he enjoys going to as many movies as possible, collecting LaserDiscs, making parody movie trailers, and watching his complete DVD collection of Mystery Science Theater 3000 with his wife.
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Grumpy Old Men
“Drop that fish! Don’t make me have to separate you two again, damn it!”
Getting older doesn’t have to mean you’re coming to an end. More often than not, age brings exciting new beginnings and a chance for old wounds to heal. ‘Grumpy Old Men,’ a story of elderly feuding friends, celebrates this notion with cynical, snarky, and joyously hilarious humor. When you have a cast featuring the likes of Walter Matthau, Jack Lemmon, Ann-Margret, Ossie Davis, Burgess Meredith, Daryl Hannah, and Kevin Pollak, you’re witnessing fine talent in top form in one of the funniest comedies of the early 90s.
Reunited on screen together for the first time since 1981’s ‘Buddy Buddy,’ Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon find themselves in fine form as ornery rival best friends Max Goldman and John Gustafson respectively. John and Max were split apart decades ago after both men fell for the same woman. Now the two grown men spend their retired years living in the quiet Minnesota town where they grew up, going ice fishing and needling each other every chance they get. The old wounds get a fresh batch of salt tossed on them as a new beauty to town, Ariel (Ann-Margret), moves in right across the street from the boys. It isn’t long before the old rivalry is in full swing as both “men” strive to earn the affections of the same woman.
Written by Mark Steven Johnson (Ghost Rider) and directed by Donald Petrie (Miss Congeniality) ‘Grumpy Old Men’ is a fairly safe, undemanding, predictable comedy - and it’s all the better for it. Some comedies have a bad tendency to pretend they’re something they’re not. This one knows exactly what it is and it doesn’t disappoint. It’s scary for me to believe that I was eleven years old when I saw this in the theater with my parents, but it’s wonderful to see that it still holds up well. Sure, the seasoned film viewer will know all the story beats before they happen, but so what? When you’ve got two of the greatest comedic actors of any generation on screen doing what they do best, you have little to be upset about. And as great as the leads are, it’s the supporting cast in Burgess Meredith and Ossie Davis who give some of the finest and funniest turns to their characters. A seasonal favorite in my house, ‘Grumpy Old Men’ should be welcome company in your collection.
4 out of 5
Grumpier Old Men
If ‘Grumpy Old Men’ was a celebration of life and getting older, ‘Grumpier Old Men’ is a cautionary tale about how you can sometimes have a little too much of a good thing. With the principal cast returning, minus Ossie Davis for obvious plot reasons, and new additions in Sophia Loren and Ann Guilbert, this movie was churned out a quick two years after ‘Grumpy’ with mixed, but with fairly fun results.
‘Grumpier’ picks up only a scant few months after the events of ‘Grumpy’ with Walter Matthau’s Max and Jack Lemmon’s John sparring over their favorite fishing hole while plotting the details of their kids’ wedding. Things for these two feuding friends seem better than ever as they book the local bar for the wedding reception while ramming their fishing boats into each other.
The wedding planning efforts get side tracked when it’s learned that their favorite bait shop has been bought and is now going to be turned into an Italian Restaurant by Sophia Loren’s Maria Ragetti and her mother (Guilbert). Together Max and John set about to derail Maria’s efforts in their traditionally inept fashion. But what would a good plan be without a little dash of new love tossed into the mix and the rekindling of an old rivalry?
Where ‘Grumpy Old Men’ was predictable, ‘Grumpier Old Men’ is your basic photocopy of the same script, only set in the spring and summer months. Mark Steven Johnson is back to write the characters he created, and sitting in the director’s chair this time is Howard Deutch (The Great Outdoors). Johnson treads familiar territory while Deutch does a fine job bringing the returning and new characters together while managing a brighter color-palette.
There is little to nothing new here story wise, so anyone expecting daring plot twists or genre-bending comedy will probably leave the show a bit disappointed. However, if you’re a fan of the first film and find its characters charming and endearing and their antics hilarious - you’re going to have a good time. Lemmon and Matthau are in fine form, Ann-Margret does what she does, Sophia Loren is a nice addition who isn’t really given a lot to do, and Burgess Meredith is given more room to be a bit ruder and cruder in most of the films best comedic moments. It's a funny movie with some genuinely great moments, but it is no where near as strong as the first entry. Worth your time if you’re a fan.
2.5 out of 5
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
‘Grumpy Old Men’ and ‘Grumpier Old Men’ come packed on a single BD50 disc in a traditional keepcase. The main menu gives you the option of selecting either film giving each title their own menu where you can select your chapter, audio and subtitle options. If you watch through the credits of ‘Grumpy’ the disc automatically navigates to the main menu of ‘Grumpier’ for easy double feature binge watching.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
Given that these two films have to share the same amount of disc real estate, viewers can expect little better than your typical broadcast HD presentation. Colors all around look solid, not too hot or over saturated without any signs of nasty DNR. An upgrade from DVD to be sure, but far, far from reference quality.
‘Grumpy Old Men’ is a darker, grayer looking film as it takes place and was shot in the dead of winter. Close ups and scenes with warmer lighting come through with fine definition, detail and clarity. Evening scenes and shadows suffer from their share of crush but not to a terrible point of distraction. Not bad. Not great.
3 out of 5
‘Grumpier Old Men’ is even more of a mixed bag. While shot in warmer weather offering lush greens and bright blues, the picture appears to have an intermittent gaussian film resting over it. Close ups and static shots look fantastic, however, the snags hit the picture hard in medium shots and scenes with movement suffer unsightly motion blur. This problem could be as prevalent in ‘Grumpy,’ but that film’s darker color scheme does a better job of hiding it. I guess you can call this HD but not by much.
2 out of 5
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Some would call ‘Grumpy Old Men’ and ‘Grumpier Old Men’ 90s comedy classics. Others would call them throwaway entertainment that you find while flipping channels. I call them a great way to spend an afternoon. Sure they’re not cinematic marvels, but they’re funny, and if you give yourself to their inherent schmaltzy nature, you’re in for a treat. Since this Double Feature from Warner Brothers can routinely be found in the bargain bin, this is a recommended way to add both films to your collection.
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound (Grumpier)
- English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 (Grumpy)
- French Dolby Digital 2.0
- Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
- English SDH, French, Spanish
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