(Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish, Penn Badgley, Laura Benanti, Louisa Krause, et al / DVD / PG-13 / 2021 / Sony Pictures Home Entertainment)
Overview: Veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz (Billy Crystal) forms an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship with New York lounge singer Emma Payge (Tiffany Haddish).
Emma unexpectedly wins a lunch with the comedy legend, and their friendship gets off to an extremely rocky start (think seafood allergy, a hospital visit, and an epi pen).
Before long, each finds in the other a sort of soul mate, forging a deep bond that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of friendship, love, and trust.
DVD Verdict: It’s just so very nice to see Billy Crystal on the big screen again. This film is like spending two hours with an old friend. With that being said, the film is quite good in parts, but the sum parts don’t add up to a complete whole, sadly.
Crystal plays a comedy writer who is experiencing the beginning stages of dementia. He keeps this from his family and tries his best to hide it from everyone at work.
Tiffany Haddish plays a woman who cashed in on an auction her ex boyfriend won to have lunch with the famous writer. This is despite not knowing who he is and ultimately insulting him frequently, addressing him frequently as simply an old man.
To make matters worse, a food allergy lands her in the hospital and Crystal gets stuck with the bill. Oddly, a close friendship develops.
Haddish’s initial over the top characterization of this woman is ill conceived. We later learn that she is some sort of jazz subway singer. She eventually becomes the voice of reason for Crystal and a major player in his life, but through it all she never quite becomes a cohesive and believable character (in my humble opinion).
Flashbacks are frequent as Crystal imagines his deceased wife. These are always awkward as the wife seems to be the exact same age in every flashback and Crystal’s voice is only ever heard.
The film has some touching moments and the relationship between Haddish and Crystal does indeed evolve into a sweet friendship, but the schmaltzy moments between Crystal and his family toward the end detracted from their story.
Indeed, in truth, the film needed more focus as it tried to cover too much ground in 2 hours, but that all said, I’m nitpicking too much as both leads are funny here - but, and trust me here, the later half of the movie gets into the tear jerking department.
Oh, and for all you spot-them-if-you-can fans out there, there are also several quick cameos - such as Barry Levinson, Kevin Kline and even Sharon Stone in brief parts. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
• Audio Commentary with Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish & Alan Zweibel
• Interviews with Filmmakers & Cast
Official Movie Trailer
Amazon Purchase Links
Sony Pictures @ Facebook!
Sony Pictures @ Twitter!
Sony Pictures @ Instagram!