The unlikely pairing of Amber Heard and Christopher Walken pays comic dividends in “One More Time,” an agreeably predictable famous father/bitter daughter dramedy.
Walken plays Paul Lombard, an aged crooner, “The King of Romance,” contemplating a comeback as only Christopher Walken can. He’ll open for a more hip band and find a new audience.
“The FLAME-ing Lips,” he says, in Walkenspeak.
Heard is his struggling jingle-singing daughter, over 30 “wasting her talent” and determined not to let the old man or his agent (Oliver Platt) help her get a leg up.
Jude Lippman (Heard) was born “Star Shadow,” so-named by her six-times married dad, whose “makeout music” LPs are a go-to move for any unknowing guy about to bed her.
“It was my luck to be named during his ‘hippy’ period,” she grouses. And, knowing that makes no mathematical sense, “Who has a ‘hippy’ period in the ’80s?”
Paul lives with wife number six (Ann Magnuson). His daughters (Kelli Garner is the younger one) call her “The Wicked Witch of the Upper West Side.” He’s still got the ’80s Rolls-Royce, still lives in The Hamptons.
“The SLUMS of The Hamptons,” he complains. Too far from the beach.
Those slums are where Jude retreats to be with Dad, sixth-wife, bitchy sister and sister’s affable husband (Hamish Linklater), to sort out her life. Because her over-30 punk thing is just the facade. There are other mistakes she’s not owning up to.
Father and daughter duet on “Something Stupid,” but Dad upstages her. Agent Allen (Platt) trots out “Hey, Jude” jokes. Old sores open up, old scores might be settled.
Predictable stuff, written and directed by the fellow who talked Ralph Fiennes and Donald Sutherland into “Land of the Blind” (Robert Edwards).
What pays dividends here is the crooning — Heard is passable alt-rockish, Walken (he sang in “Pennies from Heaven”) has a ring-a-ding-ding delivery that suggests older Bobby Darin or Frank Sinatra Jr. — and Heard playing off Walken’s playfulness.
He wrings a laugh out of Jude’s fascination with the great Nina Simone.
“I used to play PING-pong with Nina!”
Paul shares vintage Playboys with his grandson (Henry Keleman), suggesting he could “tell you stories” about the Playmate on the cover. He watches and re-watches a “Behind the Music” about his career, edits his own Wikipedia entry and trots out a new song, one he wrote himself, that he figures will launch his comeback.
You know, the one that has him opening for “The FLAME-ing Lips.”
It’s a pleasure seeing Walken this light and lively and “One More Time” goes down easier than his pal Al Pacino’s “Danny Collins.” He lands his laughs, shies away from the sentimental.
Heard is mostly a collection of props (cigarettes, piercings, a Nina Simone tattoo) and tics (biting her black fingernails). But she plays off Walken well.
It doesn’t surprise, but that’s kind of what you want from a movie like “One More Time” — old reliables, reliably delivering, with or without the “COW bell.”
MPAA Rating: unrated, pot use, profanity, sexual situations
Cast: Amber Heard, Christopher Walken, Hamish Linklater, Ann Magnuson, Oliver Platt
Credits: Written and directed by Robert Edwards. StarzMedia release.
Running time: 1:37