‘Senior Moment’ definitely forgettable – Movies – Buzz | #television | #elderly | #movies
While I wouldn’t consider myself a connoisseur of old person comedies necessarily, I do carry a vague appreciation for them. Or maybe affection is a better word – there’s something about watching old pros just hang out, even if the world they’re in seems built by an AARP focus group. They don’t have to be good to charm me, is what I’m saying.
A perfect case in point is “Senior Moment,” starring William Shatner himself. There’s a lot wrong with this movie – there’s a stiffness to the dialogue, inconsistency and odd choices with the camera and a weird credulousness throughout – but watching Shatner, as well as his co-stars Christopher Lloyd and Jean Smart, just doing what they do in a very low-key, low-stakes manner is fun.
Shatner plays Victor Martin, a former NASA test pilot living in Palm Springs. A lifelong bachelor, he’s constantly on the prowl, even as he moves into septuagenarian territory. He likes the ladies, but never for long. The only two real constants in Vic’s life are Sal (Christopher Lloyd), former jeweler and current oddball – the two have been best pals since elementary school – and his car, a classic Porsche that Vic just loves to drive too fast.
And that lead foot gets him in trouble.
He’s been pretty lucky – he has a positive relationship with local law enforcement, thanks to his not-inconsiderable charm – but word is that there’s going to be a crackdown on moving violations now that new DA Tess Woodson (Beth Littleford, TV’s “Love, Victor”) is looking for any excuse to get seniors off the road.
Well, thanks to Vic’s poor judgment and some encouragement from a caricature driving a low rider, he winds up in court, his license suspended and his Porsche impounded. He’s left with little choice but to take public transportation.
But as fate would have it, that’s where he meet-cutes with Caroline (Jean Smart), the owner-operator of a local artsy café and maker of the best strudel in town. She’s an artistic free spirit, he’s a fast-driving Lothario … you see where this is going. As for whether it gets there, well – that depends on if Vic and Caroline can come to terms with their deep-down differences.
And that’s that. Oh sure, there are subplots – one with Vic’s kind of creepy quasi-courtship of a much younger model (Katrina Bowden), one where Vic enlists the help of a random ponytailed weirdo named Rock Kendall (Don McManus, TV’s “The Valhalla Murders”) to … somehow game the driving test or something? It’s really not clear.
Not much of it is, to be honest. The internal logic of the movie seems very flexible, but not in a good way. “Senior Moment” doesn’t always make a lot of sense; there’s a constant feeling that a step was skipped and we’re never let in on what that step was. It just comes off as a little disjointed.
The central plotline is fine, albeit bland. Shatner and Smart are a nice pairing; at the very least, they’re in the ballpark of age-appropriate (though at 90, Shatner’s still two decades older) and they’re undeniably comfortable with one another – half the battle when it comes to chemistry. The other stuff – particularly the tacked-on driving test … whatever – might as well be from a different movie.
Aesthetically, it’s tough to figure out what director Giorgio Serafini was going for here. It’s a mishmash of styles; some moments look like they were shot on a verging-on-obsolete iPhone. Odd angles and repetition are constants, only there seems to be little rhyme or reason behind the choices being made. Again – confusing.
It’s worth repeating: this movie’s got plenty of problems, but the aged charms of Shatner are not one of them. Even when he’s clearly only half-paying attention to what he’s doing – which is admittedly much of the time – he’s engaging enough (though I will note that he doesn’t appear to fully understand how human beings touch each other).
Smart absolutely cruises in this movie. She knows precisely what she needs to do to maximize her end of things and just … does it. It’s the performance of a professional who is very good at what she does. No wasted effort. I wanted a lot more of Christopher Lloyd’s Sal; even though he’s noticeably slowed, there’s still a bit of that wonderful manic energy lingering below the surface – you just wish he’d get more of a chance to let some of that out.
Littleford is fine in the thankless DA role; one gets the impression that there was more to that part that wound up on the cutting room floor. Bowden shows up to get leered at for a couple of scenes. McManus goes for it in a way that feels different than anything else in the movie; I don’t think it works, but at least he’s trying something. The wonderful Esai Morales is here, stuck in an almost completely superfluous plot device of a part. Oh, and Carlos Miranda plays the previously-mentioned low-rider driver who eventually becomes a friend and ally in Vic’s quest for some reason (like I said, this movie doesn’t make a lot of sense).
“Senior Moment” really lives up to its name – in the middle of watching it, you’ll realize you have no idea why. It’s a formulaic, forgettable film with very little to offer beyond the still-extant charms of its aging stars.
[1.5 out of 5]