Avoiding to settle in a nursing home, Joseph Kotcher, a retired salesman, is obliged to leave his son's family. He embarks on a road trip during which he strikes up a friendship with a ...
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Avoiding to settle in a nursing home, Joseph Kotcher, a retired salesman, is obliged to leave his son's family. He embarks on a road trip during which he strikes up a friendship with a pregnant teenager and begins to understand the true meaning of life as he helps the girl give birth to her child. Written by
Bittersweet film directed by Jack Lemmon features real-life pal Walter Matthau as an unwanted old codger in Southern California who befriends an unmarried, pregnant teenager. The film makes points on several topics (retirement homes, married life in suburbia, the value of the elderly), yet it doesn't use this material to build momentum--and since the film isn't a satire, the humor (often condescending or sarcastic) comes off as smirking. Matthau does a very fine job--he even convinces us he's a baby lover!--but his relationship with the troubled girl fails to ring true (Matthau's pinched, icy daughter-in-law is a worse matter--she's a one-note caricature). At one point, Kotch goes on a road trip by bus and sends back lots of postcards to his son, but director Lemmon doesn't use this segment to bolster the plot (it's too sitcom-like and, with that silly music, plays like a geriatric "Midnight Cowboy" besides!). Lemmon is careful not to flood the movie with teary sentiment; he's generally gracious and attentive, and many of his details are wonderfully wry. The film is likable enough, but overall seems a bit fatigued. **1/2 from ****
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