Film

Richard Dreyfuss Comes This Close to Saving Jason Priestley’s Cas & Dylan

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Leading man Richard Dreyfuss is so irrepressibly charming that he almost saves Jason Priestley’s dismal buddy comedy Cas & Dylan from its awkward humor and trite sentimentality. As Cas Pepper, a depressed physician who reluctantly goes on a road trip with free-spirited aspiring writer Dylan (Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany) after he receives a mysterious medical prognosis, Dreyfuss makes the most out of an essentially mawkish character.

During their long drive across Canada, Cas and Dylan seem intended to teach other life lessons. But more often than not, he only sighs and complains paternally as she puts down his love of bluegrass music or shoots her mouth off with ostensibly endearing non sequiturs like “Last time I stayed in a [motel] like this, I made 400 bucks. That was a joke. Get it? Because this place is crack-whore-ish.” Dreyfuss does all he can with his wiser-than-thou charm and a few well-timed hangdog expressions.

His enigmatic smirk and elephantine shuffle give Cas some much-needed dimension, and he earns a few tears during an otherwise corny heart-to-heart moment with Maslany, whose performance is generally unremarkable.

But not even Dreyfuss can save a generically grumpy-old-man protagonist who only demonstrably benefits from Dylan’s company when she makes him loosen up by serving him a cup of drug-laced coffee. Getting old is a drag, but it’s even more undignified when your inhibitions are so low that you put a blond wig and a tie over your head, and yell triumphantly like Cas does in Cas & Dylan. Dreyfuss is good, but nobody’s that good.