Never Too Late

Movie Information

James Cromwell leads this so-so senior citizen dramedy.
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Director: Mark Lamprell
Starring: James Cromwell, Jacki Weaver, Shane Jacobson
Rated: PG

For movie lovers who have gone too long without another remake of Going in Style, Australia has a film for you. It’s a sort of comic twist on Da 5 Bloods, except these four Vietnam War veterans are all locked in a nursing home that they’re plotting to escape. Like the Spike Lee movie, however, they do have a young sidekick of Vietnamese heritage, a teenager named Elliott who’s the son of the facility’s humorless chief, known only as Lin.

The star here is American actor James Cromwell, playing Jack Bronson, who has managed to get himself stuck in the old folks’ home in order to find his long-lost love, former Australian Army nurse Norma (Jacki Weaver). But Norma, who has early dementia, is quickly dragged away to a memory care facility. That brings on Jack’s escape plan, aided by his three former buddies from Vietnam, who just happen all to be in this same small institution.

To the credit of the three writers listed for this oddly conceived story, nothing goes as planned, and the humor is mild but amiable. The actors, especially Cromwell, are appealing and committed to keeping this shaky craft on course. Further kudos are earned by not skimping on the dark side of aging, even if that leads to one bit with a stolen corpse.

Director Mark Lamprell (who co-wrote Babe: Pig in the City) has no style to speak of, but at least he doesn’t oversentimentalize the material. It’s all kind of sketchy, in both senses of the word, and Lamprell films the sketchiness with prime-time TV adequacy.

The movie has its virtues, including a running gag with a World War II veteran who’s frail as toothpicks but mean as a junkyard dog, plus a satisfying finale when each of the veterans achieves some long-held goal. If such simple pleasures are enough, then Never Too Late could brighten your evening for 90 minutes or so.

Now playing at the Flat Rock Cinema


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