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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Experienced Actors Give Life To 'Grumpy Old Men' Sequel

There is an escape from the West's obsession with youth that is slowly infecting Moscow through the ever-growing billboard network of wrinkle-free youth selling cigarettes, beer and Yupi. It's called "Grumpier Old Men," and it's currently playing at the Americom.


It's no great film. But it is refreshing to see people over the age of 40 -- in this case, actors who share more than 200 film credits between them -- presented through a flattering albeit Vaseline-smeared lens.


Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ann-Margret and Sophia Loren deliver effortless performances as a couple of old guys and their love interests. Lemmon and Matthau go through the motions they perfected as the original Odd Couple. They don't even have to try, and their performances are the reason to sit through the film's cliched plot.


An old bait shop that was the scene of some significant action in "Grumpy Old Men," is the great metaphor for change in this sequel. Lemmon and Matthau as John Gustafson and Max Goldman, want to keep it the way it is: a ramshackle, memory-filled shrine to fishing. But Maria Ragetti (Loren) comes to town wanting to turn it into an Italian Ristorante. That's it.


Matthau and Loren's performances stand out. Matthau with his old dog face shoots glances that sum up a world-weariness no words could touch. And while he's no Marcello Mastroianni, the attraction between he and Loren is plausible because he's just so pathetic.


Loren, who won the Oscar for best actress over 30 years ago in Vittorio de Sica's "Two Women," is still on fire. Sporting cleavage-enhancing dresses throughout the film, Loren is the sexiest woman alive. She doesn't try to act like a young woman. She wears her experience with pride and steals the movie.


Not so Ann-Margret, perennial sex kitten who earned an Oscar nomination for writhing around in gallons of baked beans as they spewed out of a television set in the movie "Tommy." She's still hawking the act that worked in "Viva, Las Vegas." But it's over. As Ariel, a sort of New Age Crystal Carrington who talks to her flowers by day and sculpts a naked Jack Lemmon at night, she is the conscience of the film, delivering hit-you-over-the-head morals like, "There's nothing wrong with change." If only she would take it to heart and stop acting like she's 20.


The film is directed by Howard Deutch, best known for "Pretty in Pink." And he shines by letting Matthau and Lemmon do what they do best -- give each other grief. "This milk has chunks in it," says Lemmon staying a sad night at Matthau's. "What's your point?" Matthau shoots back.


Lemmon delivers the kind of tear-jerking, befuddled old man performance that won him an Oscar nomination in "Glengarry Glen Ross." He and Matthau are on a quest to catch an ancient fish called Catfish Hunter. "You couldn't catch crabs from a $10 hooker," Matthau tells Lemmon. And the audience laughs. It's a stupid line, but it's funny between them.