Ty Burr
June 07, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The title to the contrary, the two coots played by Lemmon and Matthau are a lot less testy than in 1993’s hit Grumpy Old Men. And it hurts. Jack Lemmon’s John is happily married to Ariel (Ann-Margret), and Walter Matthau’s Max is cozying up to the local restaurant’s new owner (Sophia Loren), so forget any wall-shaking blasts of dyspepsia. Who wants to see these guys get along? Well, apparently lots of people, since Grumpier Old Men earned nearly $70 million in theaters. But perhaps audiences went out of nostalgic fondness for the old odd couple. Grumpier‘s scatalogical, dumb-and-dumber dialogue is proof that the art of screenwriting has devolved since these stars started out (and/or since Billy Wilder retired). If you want to see what these guys can really do, rent The Fortune Cookie, The Odd Couple, or The Front Page. C-

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