Last Chance Harvey

Posted by schnolis on January 23rd, 2009 filed in Reviews

THE_READERI realize it is Oscar nomination and Award time, and a great time to see movies. I’m certain about one thing after seeing all these movies at the Ritz. Nearly everything showing right now is tremendous.  I haven’t seen a movie I have given a rating less than 6, and many are 8 or higher.  I suppose that’s to be expected.  Thankfully for me, something has indicated I haven’t lost the edge necessary to pick out a stinker.   That movie is Last Chance Harvey.

This movie is flat, boring, and so rigid in its adherance to formula I’m surprised they bothered gave the characters names.  Our <down on his luck protaganist> Harvey Shine (Dustin Hoffman) plays a pathetic composer whose job has moved beyond his abilities and skills.  He hasn’t adapted.  His family have turned their back on him, too.  Probably for something he did, though the movie never actually says.  It couldn’t be bothered. We’re just supposed to feel sorry for Harvey because people treat him badly and sad music plays when he gives us his whipped puppy face.  Ugh.

While traveling to London for his daughter’s wedding, he meets up with his <potential loner love interest> Kate Walker (Emma Thompson) having just fell out of a bad screenwriting book.  She for some reason keeps hanging around with the one person in the movie who keeps insulting her.  Continuing with the lost puppy theme, Harvey keeps following her until she talks to him, probably out of pity. I kept wondering why she didn’t just call the police, or scream, or beat the snot out of him.  Come on, you’re practically twice his size!  

Eventually, of course, things work out with the daughter, Harvey’s not really the bad guy, just unlucky!  The job that fired him wants him back, with a raise, probably. They have a near miss where he doesn’t show up for a scheduled romanitc meeting beside a fountain in front of a castle.  Oh-No!  He had a <insert medical problem here>!

Even the music, by Thomas Newman, my favorite film composer, was recycled from The Shawshank Redemption and other movies.   I’ll bet he didn’t even see the movie.  They just phoned him up and said “give us 10 minutes of sad music, and 10 minutes of more upbeat stuff.  We’ll just cycle through it and repeat where necessary.”  

If you have a bleeding heart, completely shallow values, and a fondness for stray three-legged dogs that get kicked to the curb, you might actually enjoy this saccharine nonsense.    Otherwise stay far away. 

What I liked: Imagining unusual and painful ways for the main characters to die.  

What I disliked:  Everything.  This film is the dregs, and I’m shocked it’s showing at the Ritz.  Dustin Hoffman sleepwalking through a role.  

Rating: 1 of 10

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