Movie Review: Shatner, Smart and Lloyd have a “Senior Moment”

Christopher Lloyd is 82 years young, still getting laughs with the wild hair and his way with a punchline.

Jean Smart? The “Designing Woman” is 69, and still getting the guy.

William Shatner has them both beat. He gets online just long enough to thank fans for birthday wishes, and damned near breaks Twitter. He turned 90 just the other day. And yes, he’s still a headliner.

“Senior Moment” is a thin, faintly amusing spin in the late life romance lane, a Palm Springs rom-com about a guy finally finding a woman he loves more than what looks to be a ’59 Porsche 356. It’s one of those movies that’s more “Well, thank heavens somebody made a movie for that demographic” than entertaining, but we don’t pick on stars chasing Betty White past 90.

Shatner’s Victor Martin, a retired Air Force major who likes his freedom and loves his trophy Porsche. He and pal Sal (Lloyd) tool around town, ogling women who’d be too young to date their grandsons, if they had grandsons.

“Like two hard-boiled eggs doing the salsa,” Victor purrs at one young lady entirely too young to be caught dead using a crosswalk in Palm Springs.

Victor’s a character around town, a “host” at their favorite piano bar and a guy the cops keep giving warnings, because 80something or not, he’s still a speed freak.

But one stoplight joke-off with a “cholo” in a lowrider later, all that goes away. The car’s impounded and license-free Victor’s stuck in Ubers, taxis, on foot or traveling by bus.

“Only losers ride the bus.”

Naturally, that’s Victor stumbles into Cuckoo Cafe owner Caroline. As he drops his groceries, fends off heat stroke by sticking his head in the supermarket ice cream cooler and tries to find his mojo without the car he always thought of as a you-know-what magnet, Victor has an epiphany.

He’s sweet on Caroline.

Sure, “I like fast cars and you like tortoises (desert tortoises, which she’s trying to save).” He’s into junk food and she’s Ms. Organic.

“I thought ALL wine was organic!”

But maybe, is this artist-rival for her attention (Esai Morales) can be fended off, they can find a middle ground. Maybe there’s time for a little romance and a bed where she can share a joint with him and he can force down a little blue pill.

There are a few jokes in the script, but even though director Giorgio Serafini is no old hand at comedy (he’s a veteran of B-movies like “The Good War” and “Game of Death”), he has to realize he left a lot of laughs one the table.

There’s a bit of goofy fun in the shyster lawyer, driving test instructor and “life coach” Don McManus prepping Victor to re-take his driving test with a video game, two-on-two basketball and playing three-card monte at poolside, where Victor has to fight the “distraction” of young women in swimsuits.

Profanity and sexual joking around aside, “Senior Moment” suffers from that “It’s harmless enough” label easily slapped on too many “comedies for seniors.”

The lecherous old guy stuff may play to Shatner’s demo, but feels kind of winded and out of date here.

There’s some cute bonding with the “cholo,” Pablo (Carlos Miranda) who tricked Victor into the drag race that cost him his license. And a sentimental story about a cuckoo clock in Caroline’s cafe isn’t quite the groaner it almost becomes.

But giving Lloyd too little to do, and not having funnier players in Victor’s posse are both lost opportunities. Smart can still hit a punchline and isn’t given anything amusing to play or say here.

And when Victor is introduced at Captain Hook’s piano bar, we face the biggest comic letdown of all. Nobody begs him to sing.

If there’s anything an old trooper like Shatner knows, it’s how hilarious the culture thinks his singing is. Come on, Bill, give the people what they want!

MPA Rating: unrated, sexual situations, profanity, marijuana, alcohol

Cast: William Shatner, Jean Smart, Christopher Lloyd, Carlos Miranda and Esai Morales.

Credits: Directed by Giorgio Serafini, scripted by Kurt Brungardt, Christopher Momenee. A Screen Media release.

Running time: 1:32

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
This entry was posted in Reviews, previews, profiles and movie news. Bookmark the permalink.