The Odd Couple II (1998) starred Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau, back from the first movie as Felix Unger and Oscar Madison but with nobody else. Oscar is retired to Florida and hosting senior poker games. Felix isn't. Turns out their kids fell in love and are getting married in California. And they're going to travel together for the wedding.
The movie is more like Felix and Oscar in the Out-of-Towners because the movie is just them facing a series of difficulties trying to get to the wedding in California (Santa Something-or-other). There's some honking noises, some wrinkled shirts but not much else of the orignal characters here.
The only reason this movie got to exist is that Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau were suddenly hot again, thanks to movies like Grumpy Old Men I & II and Out to Sea. And the movie is not special for the same reason. Instead of it being Lemmon-and-Matthau-are-back-together event! it was oh, they're in ANOTHER movie together?
Their chemistry is still there, but, like their road trip, there's too much stop and go. And they are too old for the parts. I'm supposed to believe the bride and groom are their children? More like adult grandchildren.
And it ends with Felix moving back in with Oscar in Florida, which is probably what the movie should have been.
Both guys are in their zone. The set looks identical to the TV apartment they lived in and Canada fills in for NYC well enough. People forget that the first season of the Odd Couple was a filmed, single camera sit-com (it switched to a 3-camera, live audience format afterward) so the switch back to film isn't that jarring. It was a solid, enjoyable reunion with enough subplots so everyone got a moment to shine. The characters sparred over housekeeping and getting Oscar back to work. And it had some weird and wonderful laughs. There was a Rocky parody (!) where Oscar screeches in delight that scares horses. The poker game where they let Oscar win is vintage Odd Couple, even if some of the players aren't. Murray the cop is there, although retired and not portrayed by Al Molinaro. As usual, Felix goes overboard and Oscar has to reel him back in.
The show's attitude and rhythms picked up straight from the original series, something the big screen sequel movie did not do. I knew The Odd Couple II existed and had seen it back in the 90s, but I didn't know about the TV reunion, so that was a pleasant surprise and I like it when the cable channels do unusual double-features like this. It's just that now I can't get the Odd Couple theme out of my head.