Top critical review
19 June 2019
So sad to see the decline of a good director. Rob Reiner once made good movies like 'Stand By Me' and 'A Few Good Men', but now he churns out slop like this. Maybe the same principle that can be applied to a lot of musicians works for filmmakers also: as they get older, their output gets progressively worse and worse.
Morgan Freeman is wasted here as a platitude-spouting author in a wheelchair, who's given up on his true love of writing and is happy to drink himself into oblivion. He goes on vacation next door to a mother of three daughters, one of whom is a jaded teenager always on her phone, another is a dungarees-wearing tomboy who wants to be a writer like him and the last is a 'cute' seven-year-old who seems to exist primarily to dish out precocious one-liners.
Quick! Guess what happens next! Will the tomboy ask for writing lessons from Freeman, and together they'll restore his faith in humanity, subsequently ending up in him quitting the booze and restarting his career as an author? Will the jaded teenager discover her mother's old journal where she finds how adventurous the old lady used to be, resulting in the teen throwing away her mobile to start a WHOLE NEW lease of life?
Is there a disabled young man somewhere in the mix, whose blithe simplemindedness somehow makes him 'better' then all the other characters combined because he can 'appreciate' life more without worrying what other people think of him? Does Freeman meet a dog that he initialises despises but grows to love, the result of many scenes together as he lectures the unresponsive pooch with goofy music in the background? Are there stars in the sky now?
To put it bluntly: This movie was manipulative, uninspired, tedious, mawkish, predictable and even insulting in the way it reduced important issues and conflicts to the level of a sitcom.
But when I think of some of the other rubbish I've seen, I can't give it too bad a mark, as there's MUCH worse out there, believe me. Compared to some of Reiner's previous flicks though, this isn't so much as a comedown, as a catastrophic leap off a cliff. What a shame. 4/10