Film » Reviews

Play the Game strikes out

by

comment

Andy Griffith is a TV legend and a North Carolina legend, but as far as his big-screen legacy is concerned, it basically boils down to his award-worthy film debut in 1957's superb A Face in the Crowd, his reprisal of his breakthrough Broadway and television role in the 1958 movie adaptation No Time for Sergeants, and his lovely supporting turn in 2007's Waitress. Adding this feeble comedy to his resume at this late date changes nothing, although who am I to argue with an 83-year-old who's admirably keeping fit and focused?

Griffith, absurdly forced to take second billing under TV actor Paul Campbell (late of the new Battlestar Galactica, now on the new Knight Rider), plays Joe, a widower hoping for companionship during his twilight time at a retirement home. Joe's grandson David (Campbell), a self-styled player who has no trouble scoring with the women, elects to teach Joe the various steps on how to be a ladies' man, a concept Joe has trouble grasping since he's always subscribed to the notion of true love. But as the two men spend time together, Joe predictably learns how to woo the widows (among them ones played by Doris Roberts and Liz Sheridan) while David predictably learns how to truly care about a woman after he meets and falls for perky Julie (Marla Sokoloff).

The David-Julie material is completely stale, save for a last-minute twist that's clever but also problematic in both execution and intent. The Joe segments could be worthwhile if writer-director Marc Fienberg treated the dating habits of the elderly with more thought and respect and with less emphasis on ridiculous sight gags (Joe decked out in "playah" duds) and lame Viagra jokes. The last-named does lead to an extended close-up of Joe's face as he receives the first blow job of his life. And those who consider this the highlight of the film will want to stay seated for the end-credits outtake, where Griffith improvises an orgasm that seems to last as long as the entire eight-year run of The Andy Griffith Show.

Add a comment