Monty Wildhorn, an alcoholic novelist of Westerns, has lost his drive. His nephew pushes him to summer in quiet Belle Isle. He begrudgingly befriends a newly single mom and her 3 girls who help him find the inspiration to write again.
"Elsa and Fred" is the story of two people who at the end of the road, discover that it's never too late to love and make dreams come true. Elsa has lived for the past 60 years dreaming of ... See full summary »
Marcia Gay Harden
Charlie is a troublesome 18-year-old who breaks out of a youth drug treatment clinic, but when he returns home to Los Angeles, he's given an intervention by his parents and forced to go to ... See full summary »
Oren Little has turned his back on all his neighbors and shunned the notion of being kind to others after the death of his wife. Next door neighbor Leah has put her soul, and her tears, into her stagnant singing career after the death of her husband. But then Oren's son shows up needing Oren to take care of his daughter Sarah. Oren has no patience for children, Leah never had any of her own, but 9-year-old Sarah just might be the spark that allows these two lonely souls to turn their home into a Little Shangri-La. Written by
Kurt Vonnegut introduced the last three words of this title into our culture in his classic satiric novel Slaughterhouse Five; newswoman Linda Ellerbee's version with the "and" made it even more famous as her sign-off for insightful news and commentary segments. Both would grieve over its deployment in this tired attempt at a sentimental romantic comedy. Or maybe the producers used it ironically, admitting how this was merely the inevitable application of old convention (bitter old dude rediscovers life and joy from new connections with others), directed by what's left of Rob Reiner, and starring the remnants of Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. She'd already steered a better course through these murky waters opposite Jack Nicholson in Something's Gotta Give.
Douglas' character is a surly widower who is rich enough to be a curmudgeon, rather than just a regular jerk. His estranged son, while on his way to prison, suddenly sticks the old grouch with the care of a 10-year-old granddaughter he'd never even known existed. Kindly neighbor Keaton - a widow who sings oldies in a local lounge until her own grief causes show-stopping crying jags - provides the path to Douglas' re-humanization. That's not a spoiler. Everyone knows where this plot absolutely positively must come to rest before the thing even starts. It's the Law of the Land in Tinseltown.
The sets are lovely. The comedy content is slim. Douglas' path from loutish to loving grows tiresome. As a cinematic crooner, Keaton delivers a tossup with Kiera Knightley's recent gig in Begin Again. Or by another measure, the film's eminent music director Marc Shaiman (five Oscars and a slew of other awards) has written or collaborated on dozens of acclaimed movie scores and memorable songs... none of which he has Keaton perform. The net result is a paint-by-numbers production of the second time around for its geriatric principals that will satisfy relatively few of their fans.
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