“Senior Moment” – Best forgotten [MOVIE REVIEW]

William Shatner and Jean Smart in "Senior Moment." Photo courtesy of Screen Media Films

William Shatner and Jean Smart in “Senior Moment.” Photo courtesy of Screen Media Films

“Senior Moment,” directed by Giorgio Serafini and written by first timers Kurt Brungardt and Christopher Momenee, is not a terrible movie, it’s just not a good one.

The story is as old as the protagonists. Seventy-something Victor Martin, retired test pilot, resides in Palm Springs and lives for his Porsche. Never married, Martin is narcissistic to the ultimate degree and is convinced that the rules don’t apply to him. Arrested for reckless driving, both his license and his Porsche are taken from him. Martin, who ridicules his friends and their senior citizen activities is now carless and purposeless. Enter Caroline, the proprietor of the local café and a supporter of ecological causes. Smitten, Martin believes he has finally found the one; Caroline feels the same way until…the green-eyed monster rears up and Martin spies Caroline with Diego, a prominent local artist. Martin’s possessiveness drives Caroline away and both are bereft. You can fill in the blanks for what remains by answering the following questions: Will Martin get his car and license back? Will he get Caroline back? Will he grow up? Will they live happily ever after?

Clearly the film was able to get funding because of the stars attached – Jean Smart as Caroline, William Shatner as Martin, Christopher Lloyd as Martin’s best friend Sal, and Esai Morales as Caroline’s artist friend Diego. This film, co-produced by Endeavor Content, is one of the best examples I can think of why talent agencies should be out of the production business. Jean Smart is a client of William Morris Endeavor and without her there is no there there – the very definition of self-dealing.

Esai Morales and Jean Smart in “Senior Moment.” Photo courtesy of Screen Media Films.

Which brings us to the acting, especially since nothing good can be said about the writing or direction. William Shatner plays William Shatner, although at an unrealistic age. He’s actually 90 and really doesn’t look it. He does not, however, look 70, which is the age he’s chosen for his character. It’s always fun to watch Shatner but he doesn’t bring anything to this role that he didn’t bring to his Priceline commercials. The director and writers were doing him no favors in patterning his character after Jack Nicholson’s character in “Terms of Endearment.” Martin drives a sports car; Martin is commitment-phobic; Martin is a retired NASA pilot. Jack Nicholson got an Oscar for his performance; Shatner will not.

Esai Morales, for the few moments he’s in the film, makes you realize how under-utilized he is as an actor. Even in a movie such as this, he brings a breath of fresh air and sly humor to something stale.

And darn that Jean Smart! Her virtual presence in this clunker guarantees some eyeballs because she is always so very good no matter what the material. And so it is here. Even with nothing original to say or do, she is riveting. That she has found warmth and depth in such a shallow pool is simply amazing. I don’t think there’s anything she can’t do and if you doubt it, watch HBO’s “Watchmen” or “Fargo” (the TV series) or any of the other television series that featured her.

Opening March 26 in select theaters and VOD.

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