A film that knows exactly what it is and never tries to overstretch itself. Senior Moment is an easy watch with a splattering of laughs yet full of harmless charm.
Retired NASA test pilot Victor (William Shatner) and best friend Sal (Christopher Lloyd) love nothing more than causing chaos by joyriding Victor’s vintage convertible around their home town of Palm Springs. However, when Victor is caught speeding, he loses his precious driving licence and is forced to use public transport. When he has a chance encounter with the friendly and charitable Caroline (Jean Smart), he enlists Sal’s help with his attempts to win over her affection. However, Victor has been alone for a long time, and his prickliness is enough to put any woman off. With his sights set on Caroline, Victor must curb his reckless impulses and learn to enjoy a quieter life – will he manage to woo the woman of his dreams and win back his other love, his licence to drive again?
This is a harmless romantic comedy, and with some underdeveloped characters, our cast is never given enough to do. Considering their talents, this is a big miss for Senior Moment. This is a cast who knows either to focus on the slightly dramatic and a bit of farce or slapstick. When the film does venture towards going as silly as possible, it breaks hard well before. Again, it is a shame when you have someone like Christopher Lloyd, who appears very game here, do not waste him. Let him stretch his comedic legs with a supporting cast who seem “wacky” give them more wacky things to do. Give them something, at the least. By not engaging us enough throughout seriously risks losing us, especially in that middle section.
Victor’s entire arc of adapting to life without his car just seems to brush where it could go. We are not expecting the film to throw big curveballs; we just want it to be a little less predictable than what it eventually becomes. If it had taken bigger steps to have slightly crazier moments, then this would be a film that would truly deserve a watch. But, alas, we have a film that is more suited to an era long gone by. If Senior Moment had been made in the 40s or 50s, then it would have been one hell of a hit. Nowadays though? Not so much. It feels as if Senior Moment tries to aim for that older audience, and in truth, it is the perfect matinee film.
Shatner surprises here by how easily he takes to self-depreciation. He charms the audience throughout and becomes an amiable lead who you want to focus on; you actively want him to get the girl and get his slightly wayward life back on track. Wisely, his character is never given anything overly negative that could segregate us from him, and once Smart’s Caroline comes into view, he amps up that charm. Both Shatner and Smart have wonderful chemistry together, and you buy into how comfortable they become with one another as quickly as they do. Which again, has you wondering that if the script had more oomph to it. Something to bite into, then this could be an impressive little piece.
Yet for all of that, it is very hard not to like the film. The performances are as good as you can expect, and it breezes through its 92-minute runtime. The little moments work very well, and they help carry the film while it’s more dull moments. So while it isn’t a film that will live long in the memory, it is enjoyable enough.
Senior Moment is released on digital 28 June 2021.
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