Director: Michael Showalter
Starring: Sally Field, Max Greenfield
Meet future Academy Award nominee Sally Field. She is easily the best part of this film, which has several good parts, but none as good as Sally Field’s performance as the quirky and dated Doris Miller. She takes the charm of being an older person trying to stay in contact with the younger world, and brings to it a whole new level of hilarity. I loved her in this movie, which is no surprise because I am a fan of her work. I went to see this movie simply because of Sally Field. Having her romantic interest be Max Greenfield, my favorite actor on ‘New Girl’, is an added bonus.
The film centers on an older woman in a trendy company, becoming inspired to romantically pursue a younger co-worker. The trailer for this movie did not have me particularly jumping to see it, but I knew if someone went with me, I would enjoy it. And surely enough, I was the youngest person in the theater by at least 30 years.
To break it down, the acting of Sally Field blows away all of her other cast members. She works with all the right story elements and goes outlandish on what needs to be done that way and still has the expertise and the restraint to know when it needs toning down. She is a powerful actress, and I hope she gets recognition for this work. Max Greenfield works in the role, and though he isn’t really doing much that he hasn’t done before, playing it safe usually works. As far as other actors go, I would say all the performances were serviceable, until the story’s flaws come up.
The biggest problem with this film is that it has no real antagonist. Doris has an attachment that everyone is telling her to let go of, and the way that this was presented was abrupt and forced. There was such a polar opposite approach to who was good and who was bad, that the one time a character tried to change sides, it set up a really powerful scene for Doris, and effectively ended all the antagonist’s plot. There’s a difference in film between having the end of an antagonist, and just completely snipping off their part of the story, and while it’s not really the director’s, or even the actor’s fault, the script could have been strengthened somewhat in that department.
On another note, I really liked the song in the end credits. So much so, I sat through said credits to see the song name and artist. Check it out: ‘Sweetness’ by Pearl and the Beard.
Overall, the film was funny and sweet. The chemistry between the two leads was good. There were at least four scenes where I was laughing out loud, which is pretty good going for comedies these days. Doris Miller was a charming character that I would want to see more of. Some subplots really help bolster the main narrative, and some do the opposite. I would recommend this movie to just about anyone, because it’s a pleasant and harmless matinee type of film. The technical issues aren’t anything too glaringly awful, and the film carries a message with it, though somewhat interpretative, to not let age define oneself. And I think that’s important to hear.