Richard Dreyfuss and Chevy Chase join forces to make a comedy film about aging and… it sort of works.
Al Hart (Chevy Chase) was a professional agent for 50 years, but is now being pressured into retiring by his granddaughter, Jeannie (Kate Micucci). While touring a retirement facility, he runs into his former client, Buddy Green (Richard Dreyfuss), who encourages him to take up residence. Buddy was a promising comedian who was given his big break on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, but instead walked off and pursued a medical career and a family. Buddy is mostly content with retired life, but Al quickly grows upset with it, telling Buddy that they should do a comedy tour and get him on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert to make up for his missed opportunity. Along the way, Al meets Doris Lovejoy (Andie MacDowell), a free-spirited woman with whom he forms a bond. Hi-Jinks ensue.
So… it’s pretty much a well-established fact at this point that Chevy Chase is hilarious, but also an intolerable asshole. In fact, the latter has pretty much wrecked his career because it has so overshadowed the former. If you’ve seen the Vacation movies, Fletch, the first season of SNL, Caddyshack, Funny Farm, The Three Amigos, or Community, you’re probably aware that Chevy Chase can be hilarious. If you’ve ever seen or read anything about him, you know he’s an asshole. When he left Saturday Night Live after season 1, the rest of the cast cheered. When he came back to host, he got into a fist-fight with Bill Murray on set. When he met with Kevin Smith about reviving Fletch, he drove Smith completely insane. He had one of the most famously unfunny roasts of all time, because few people showed up and those that did hated him. He was kicked off of Community for making everyone miserable, though admittedly Dan Harmon is also famously difficult to work with. Last September, the Washington Post did a report about the fact that Chevy Chase wants to work, but can’t find anyone to tolerate him.
Well, good news, he found at least someone willing to put up with him long enough to film a buddy comedy. Surprisingly, that’s Richard Dreyfuss. More surprisingly, Dreyfuss is the one in the film that is a comedian. Even more surprisingly, Dreyfuss is the funnier one in the film. Not that Chase isn’t funny in some scenes, he is, but since Dreyfuss is doing the routines, he has a lot more chances to be funny. He also has the more emotional journey, having previously given up this career for a family and stability, but now having no close family or career left. It’s a great performance by a gifted actor about a man trying to take back the road not taken.
The biggest problem with the movie is that it doesn’t have much of a sense of urgency in anything that happens, which is something you do need on a road-trip comedy. Even when they do try to provide some level of it, the film just doesn’t ever feel like this really needs to be the “last” laugh, because they could just keep working at it. There is a great sequence in the film involving trying to actually get Buddy on the show and a dream sequence which does show Chase’s range, but other than that the performances are only pretty standard for the actors. Take that how you will.
Overall, I’d say that it’s only an okay movie and both of these guys have done way better. Give this one a shot if you’re a big fan of Dreyfuss, but otherwise maybe save it for when you’re old and have watched everything else.
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