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Movie Review: Last Chance Harvey

Alternate Title: Act Three

Story: I know that older people move slower and tend to be less animated than younger folk, but the characters in this film seem, at times, to be catatonic.

Written and directed by Joel Hopkins, the movie takes its sweet time for the two main characters to actually meet. Hapless, aging, New Yorker, Harvey Shine does not have a lot going for him these days. He is a jingle composer, whose career is being taken over by digital technology. On top of that, his daughter is getting married in London and has asked her step-father to give her away. Poor Harvey. Then there is 40 something, Londoner, Kate. She is single, has an unrewarding customer service job at Heathrow, an annoying, needy Mother and seems to have accepted the fact that this is her life. Poor Kate.

Harvey and Kate finally meet, there is a lot of witty banter, some goofball antics, long walks and love finds Harvey Shine.

So what is my complaint? This TV movie type film does not explain a bunch of thing about Harvey. Why is he so alienated from his family? What has he done to make him such a reject? Why is such an intelligent, witty, life-enhanced woman like Kate unhappy? The film did not have a pulse. It flat-lined even though we are watching two terrific actors doing what they do best.

This movie would be perfect to watch for a three hour flight. It is mindless and totally forgettable.

Watch the trailer and remember that all of the funny parts are seen in this 2 minutes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCIdcwMimDU

Acting: Dustin Hoffman as Harvey Shine, does adorable like no one else. He still has it but I wish the material were better. Emma Thompson as Kate is a formidable screen presence and always a delight to watch despite this material. Eileen Atkins as Maggie, Kate's needy Mother was typecast perfectly. Liane Balaban as daughter Susan, left me cold. James Brolin as the step-father and Kathy Baker as the Mother were fine in their limited roles.

Trivia: Emma Thompson attended Cambridge University. She was initially cast as the lead in Basic Instinct (1992), but refused later on and the part went to Sharon Stone. She is the only person to have won Academy awards for both acting and writing. She won Best Actress for Howards End (1992), and Best Adapted Screenplay for Sense and Sensibility (1995). She keeps her Oscar statuettes in her bathroom. Dustin Hoffman was a neighbor of Mel Brooks in New York and was set to play the role of Franz Liebkind in Brooks' first film, The Producers (1968). Just before production was to commence, Hoffman was offered the role of Ben Braddock in The Graduate (1967), co-starring Brooks' wife Anne Bancroft, and asked to be let out of his contract. The role of Liebkind eventually went to Kenneth Mars. He was so boyish looking at age 30 that he played a generation younger than Anne Bancroft in The Graduate (1967), even though she is only six years older than him.

Predilection: None

Food: Airport and wedding fare.

Sex Spectrum: None

Blatant Product Placement: Marriott Hotel

Soundtrack: I cannot remember one tune.

Opening Titles: Other than the title of the film, all credits are at the end.

Visual Art: London always looks good.

Theater Audience: Five other women of a certain age, like me.

Weather: It was lovely in London.

Sappy Factor: 2

Quirky Meter: 0

Drift Factor: I looked at my watch a lot.

Predictability Level: High

Tissue Usage: 0

Oscar Worthy: No

Big Screen or Rental: If you are stuck in an airplane and it is a free film, watch it.

Length: 100 minutes.