One more reason to suspect bait-and-switch in real estate ads: Your circled pick may belong to a Lonely Old Man seeking nothing more than a parade of prospective renters to brighten his days. Widower Walter (Roger Hendricks Simon) is the L.O.M., marking time on the Upper West Side, and the requisite audition montage of stereotypical yahoos—a device that must get its own chapter in screenwriting-made-simple manuals—typifies the student-film level of tedium to come. Closing up shop on his fake ad, tabby-cat Walter takes (self-)pity on a latecomer, Poughkeepsie escapee Maggie (Kewpie-faced Tiffany Lee). They gambol about the city visiting locations (bandshell, fountain, hotel, pier) and become fast friends with such ease that Walter’s prior isolation makes little sense. What gets him out of the house is amply explained: a hit man (Ross Pivec—trying for tough; looking vexed) plunks down 10 grand to rent the place (and to provide a way to wrap up). That’s life in the big city! The asexual, adopt-a-fogey impulse is a well-established one, but Simon’s oldster act, glasses a-perched and dawning comprehension at the ready, is mannered and tiresome. “You’re the best old man I ever met,” coos Maggie. Bah! Why, in my time . . .
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 14, 2009