Saturday, January 8, 2011

Last Chance Harvey

 Last Chance Harvey (Joel Hopkins, 2008) Amiable, genial little semi-romantic semi-comedy with a fine casting of plucky players trying to make more of it than it is.

Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) writes commercial jingles, but he's always wanted to be a jazz pianist.  He's about to write yet another inoccuous ear-worm, but he's on his way to London for his daughter's wedding.  He's told, rather cruelly by his boss (Richard Schiff) to take his time, enjoy himself...because he won't have a job when he gets back.

Hey...Mazel tov!

Add to that, his estrangement from his family, his awkwardness with social situations, and that dear daughter wants her step-dad (James Brolin) to give her away, Shine is having a verty bad time.  Determined to skip the reception and head home, he finds his flight delayed with a long layover.  Only thing to do is hit the bar, and once there, he has a strained conversation with Kate Walker (Emma Thompson, always exactly right), an airline worker he previously had blown off.

She wouldn't be there if a connection didn't happen...not back to the U.S., but between them...and as I said it's amiable and genial and you probably already know where it is heading.  There is a complication or two of the An Affair to Remember variety—don't worry, no one gets hit by a bus—and we get to witness what may be the longest wedding reception in history.  The slight storyline is fleshed out with Kate's eccentric mother (the wonderful Eileen Atkins) wo thinks that there's a Rear Window-style murderer living next door.  Hilarity ensues.

Still, you could do worse than this one to kill a little time, especially with such a good cast.


Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

You're absolutely correct on this none being slight, but it's nonetheless charming and not least of all because of Emma Thompson. Few actors have the ability to light up a screen like she does. I really wish she'd do more work (and she has such a knack for comedy which is sadly underutilised).

Yojimbo_5 said...

Thompson is absolutely beguiling in everything she does. For me, she's right behind Vanessa Redgrave for delivering that twinkle in my eye when I see an actress communicating a common human trait in a completely uncommon and surprising way (Sissy Spacek does that for me, too).
But Thompson could make me actually sit through a "Nanny McPhee" movie (not yet, but she could...). And I can't wait to see what she does with "My Fair Lady" (she's writing it).

Candice Frederick said...

hoffman and thompson together sounds like a real delight. the premise doens't exactly sway me but your review does.

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

Yup, which is why I love them in Howards End together. I remember Kate H. saying she was a big fan of Vanessa and in retrospect I think it's because - aside from the British thing - they're styles are so similar, Emma too. They're good actors, but even when they're playing different roles their natural cadence is a bit hard to hide - which I think is a good thing.

PS. Ha on Nanny McPhee, the recent one was kind of lovely - says me.