Marc Feinberg’s Poky Rom-Com Play the Game


In 2007, Waitress established that octogenarian TV legend Andy Griffith still had game as a sly charmer, but Marc Feinberg’s poky rom-com does his legacy no favors by casting Griffith as an accidentally subversive caricature of his Mayberry prime. “Grandpa’s horny,” declares Griffith’s lonely widow Joe with sitcom believability, and, in a parallel twist on boob-tube history, his estranged son is played by Ron Howard’s goofy brother, Clint. But this Lifetime-ready comedy is hardly provocative—let alone perceptive, funny, or fresh—so the respect Feinberg might’ve earned for addressing the love lives of the elderly is squashed by its insipid A-plot, in which Joe’s playboy grandson, David (Paul Campbell), must learn to grow up and stop single-mindedly chasing pussy. The young pick-up artist teaches the old dog some gimmicky tricks, buying his gramps a baby-blue tracksuit and backwards baseball cap, and offering him piggish formulas that begin like: “Step 1 . . . Reconnaissance.” The reversal is predictable: David suddenly schemes for monogamous companionship with characterless cutie, Julie (Marla Sokoloff), while Joe pops Viagra and humps half the retirement home. We’re thankfully only treated to a chaste close-up of Griffith’s doughy puppet face as he’s getting head—think Avenue Q.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 25, 2009

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