Rascally and cheerfully optimistic retired salesman Joseph “Kotch” Kotcher (Walter Matthau) leaves the family home of his son Gerald (Charles Aidman), daughter-in-law Wilma (Felicia Farr, Lemmon’s real-life wife), and their baby son Duncan, to avoid being relegated to a nursing home.
The 72-year-old forms an unlikely friendship with his family’s pregnant teenage babysitter, Erica (Deborah Winters), even helping her to deliver her baby in an empty gas station and setting up a home with her in a small concrete-block bungalow in Santa Barbara.
The film – full of warmth and emotion – was the directorial debut for Jack Lemmon. He felt uncomfortable behind the camera and didn’t enjoy the experience at all. Lemmon never directed again.
Matthau was 21-years younger than Kotch when he made the film and he gives an impressive impersonation of a spry and feisty old-timer. He received a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his portrayal.
Joseph P. Kotcher