A DREADFULLY DULL (AND TOTALLY
UNMEMORABLE) TIME WASTER
The wild and crazy antics of old men and women gathering together and getting into a wide variety of mischief has been somewhat of a comedic touch throughout the years. While not exactly a particular subgenre within the comedy film genre, this set premise of depicting elderly has found humor within their wacky scenarios; producing a chuckle or two of laughter with these senior citizens character, with most being played by seasoned actor veterans of the silver screen. Naturally, there not all are goofy gags and crude jokes, with most being presented as “rom-coms” (romantic comedies); a mixture of comedy situations that have a slightly deeper means of living life and loved ones. Of course, Hollywood has spun this yarn for quite some time; producing such films like 1993’s Grumpy Old Men, 2013’s Last Vegas, 2017’s Going in Style, and 2018’s Book Club just to name a few. Now, Screen Media Films and director Giorgio Serafini present the latest movie from this variety with the feature titled Senior Moment. Does this film find humor and heart within its cinematic narrative or is haphazard mess that never gets off the ground?
Set within the blazing heat of Palm Springs, California, Victor Martin (William Shatner) is enjoying life as a retired Air Force pilot, enjoying the leisure life with his lifelong pal, Sal Spinelli (Christopher Llyod) and enjoying the romance flings of younger women. Yet, despite all that, Victor’s greatest treasure is found within his expensive car of which covets the most. However, that all changes when Victor plays a little too “fast and furious” on the streets with his car, landing the elderly man in hot water with the law, who takes away his driver’s license and impounds his prized vehicle for the next 30 days. Forced to take a driver’s test to get his life back on the road, Victor has trouble focusing on this particular hurdle, newly distracted by local café owner, Caroline Summers (Jean Smart), taking a liking to a man who offers a unique presence in her life. While a connection between Caroline into a budding relationship, Victor’s inane intentions threaten to derail a good thing, while his endeavor to reunite with his car proves difficult, aided by license motivator Rock (Don McManus) to conquer his attentiveness problems.
THE GOOD / THE BAD
Throughout my years of watching movies, I’ve seeing many films out there that have tried to reach out to a wide variety of viewers and finding some of these endeavors that focuses on the wacky antics of senior citizens to be quite both sincere and humorous. Such projects aren’t exactly a “gold mine”, but still find some type of level of “fluff” and / or comfort to watch; finding amusement with the scenarios and gags that these elderly people get caught up in as well as finding some mild-age heart within the feature’s context, which (to me personally) can have some interesting insight feeling of growing old (i.e., looking back on life, relationships, and changing times). The movies that I mentioned above in my opening paragraph are such prime examples of this and, while some aren’t exactly the quintessential theatrical endeavors that some are looking for, they certainly get the job done and speak to this peculiar romantic comedy angle of what older men and women do underneath a cinematic light. Additionally, a lot of these particular movies do feature some seasoned veterans of the silver screen and it’s kind of funny to see what wild and crazy things that they do within their respective characters.
This brings me around to talking about Senior Moment, a 2021 romantic comedy endeavor that seeks to bring another around of old men antics and crazy scenarios to a cinematic proceeding. To be quite frank, I really didn’t hear much about this movie until the day I actually saw the film in theaters. While I was glancing around on the Fandango app on my phone, I came across this particular movie. I do have to say that the concept idea that I read in the summary portion of the movie looked amusing, yet I didn’t watch the film’s trailer. Plus, with the acting talents involved on this project (i.e. Shatner, Llyod, and Smart), I felt that the feature had some potential within that “old guys” premise that I mentioned in my opening paragraph. In addition, the movie was showing at my local movie theater around the time that I could go, with other films currently playing around that particular time that I’ve already seeing. So, I decided to take a chance on Senior Moment, purchased a ticket to go see it, and went to theaters. And what did I think of it? Well, I think I should’ve gone seeing something else. Despite a few positives, Senior Moment is quite a boring and unmemorable feature that barely gets off the ground and is utterly thinly sketched in all various facets. It’s not really offensive or begrudgingly disappointing, it just a flat bad movie that begs the question on how it got made.
Senior Moment is directed by Giorgio Serafini, whose previous directorial works include such film projects like Johnny’s Gone, The Falcon and the Dove, and The Tracker. Given his many directorial works on both TV and films, Serafini is quite an adept director of the more lesser-known variety. Thus, given the limitations that this particular movie has been a “low-key”, Serafini seems like a suitable choice to helm such an endeavor like Senior Moment. To his credit, he certainly tries to make an enjoyable feature; approaching the movie with a sense of harmless fun to the proceedings. There are a few sexual innuendos that the movie has into the mix, but, for the most part, Serafini makes Senior Moment has a certain type of “fluff” throughout the entire feature; generating a type of harmless fun that appeals to the romantic comedy angle. Thus, there is a sense of a inherit “breezy” to the film that Serafini creates and even some of the more emotional elements that come into the play in the story feel lighthearted and are easy to digest. Plus, the story itself does a have vague notion of generating that “warm feeling” with kind of sweet notion of following Victor’s journey of reexamining his life and finding true love. Thus, for better or worse, one can simply tell what Serafini gives a somewhat decent attempt in directing Senior Moment.
Perhaps the greatest thing that the movie has going for the film is found within the feature’s setting. Given the limited production budget that the movie is allotted, Senior Moment’s smartly utilizes its set-pieces to depict such a narrative of this caliber. With the movie primarily set within the Palm Springs region, the movie is entirely shot within that vicinity; bringing a sense of authenticity and creative nuances to the proceedings. Thus, while the movie won’t win any type of awards or nominations, I do have to mention that several members of the film’s “behind the scenes” team, including Tim Woman (art direction and production design) and Tammi Sutton (set decorations) for their efforts made on this picture. Additionally, the movie’s score, which was composed by Laura Karpman, is decent enough to help compliment the feature’s various sequences of levity and dramatic. It won’t win anyone over who is fan of film soundtracks, but…as I said….it definitely works for the film.
Unfortunately, Senior Moment is quite a bland and vanilla movie that it falls under heavy criticism and isn’t quite the “feel good” movie that it desperately wants to be. How so? Well, for lack of a better term, the film is quite a mess and feels lackluster from start to finish. Despite the attempts that Serafini makes in trying to make the film feel wholesome and fun, the reality is that Senior Moment doesn’t really know what type of story it wants to tell. For starters, Serafini tries to make the feature have a lighthearted feel; trying to find amusement with the context of Victor’s quirky ways of fast cars, dating younger women, paling around with his friends, and finding love. However, these different facets into Victor’s mindset are quite disjointed because of Serafini’s direction for Senior Moment; resulting in a series of cobbled up narrative threads that feel wonky and haphazard; lacking any really depth…. even with the context of a romantic comedy aspect. More to the point, Serafini makes the film feel like one of those obscure DTV (direct-to-video) releases…. and that’s not a good thing.
In truth, nothing about the movie is truly remarkable and lacks a proper guidance in making the film engaging. What’s presented barely suffices; connected loosely together within a string of events that feel half-baked and are thinly sketched. This, of course, leads into the film’s other big problem, which derives from the feature’s script. Penned by Kurt Brungardt and Christopher Momenee, Senior Moment’s script is terribly constructed and only has a few nuggets to carry the film’s narrative forward. However, those nuggets are few and far between and never feel as dynamic nor engaging as the film wants to be. In truth, the script is woefully bland and thinly-written. To be even more honest, the script feels stretched quite thin; trying to spread a very small story into a feature film. This results in Senior Moment having very glossy feeling throughout by having the script touching upon several storyline threads and barely scratching the surface on all of them; making the movie uninteresting through its various plot points that (again) feel disjointed. There’s the story of Victor getting his driver’s liscene, something to do with his car being impounded, his relationship with Caroline, and some vague understand of “save the turtles” campaign. It all gets quite messy as the film moves forward. Heck, the story of Senior Moment (the main part) feels like it could’ve been an episodic narrative from a half-hour TV sitcom. Thus, despite having a somewhat lean runtime, Senior Moment could’ve been easily compressed down into a thirty-minute. Plus, like Serafini’s direction, the film’s script is all over the places and is hard to justify some of the angles that the movie wants to present. Some parts are just completely unnecessary and feel totally out of place with the rest of the movie.
Even looking beyond those moments, the film’s comedy angle is quite DOA (dead on arrival). Regardless of its verbal joke, a physical sight gag, or some crazy style angst, the comedic levity moments that are injected fall flat on their faces; producing scenes that unfunny and lackluster…as if they were written ages ago in a different time period. None of the movie’s comedy is what I would consider good as I never even chuckled at even some of the more humorous moments. Thus, the comedic timing of the various jokes and gags are bland, tasteless, and just downright painfully unfunny. Plain and simple!
The cast in Senior Moment is also another point of criticism that I have with the film. To be sure, most of the main players in the feature certainly have credibility in their careers and have made a name for themselves throughout their various projects on both TV and films. However, their representation of their respective characters (on both themselves and on paper) are rather disjointed and almost cookie cutter caricatures; playing off as goofy elderly people with very little to no depth. The prime example of this is found within the story’s main protagonist character of Victor Martin, who is played by actor William Shatner. Known for his roles as Captain Kirk from the Star Trek franchise as well as Boston Legal and T.J. Hooker, Shatner has definitely made his name known throughout Hollywood and his career speaks for itself. However, his involvement on this feature might lend some credibility, but that’s pretty much it; finding Shatner’s character being totally goofy and its quite hard to make him such a loveable character when he acts like a total buffoon throughout the entire film. I definitely get where both Shatner and Serafini were going with this character, but Senior Moment’s principal character feels so hollow, unmemorable, and just downright dull that it begs to question why would Shatner subject himself to this movie. Plus, nothing about Victor’s story (backstory, morals, and journey in the movie) is poignant and (again) comes off as skit from a TV sitcom.
Faring better than Shatner in the movie is actress Jean Smart, who plays the character of Caroline Summers, an environmentalist / painter who runs a local organic café. Smart, known for her roles in Garden State, Legion, and Samantha Who?, has certainly made a name for herself in her long career of acting and (like her male co-star leads in the film) seems to be having fun in this movie. Of course, her character of Caroline is quite conventional and there are some wonky decisions made in what she goes through in Senior Moment, but I think Smart is okay-ish in the role. Who is criminally underutilized in the movie is actor Christopher Llyod, who plays the character of Sal Spinelli, Victor’s lifelong best friend. Known for his roles in the Back to the Future trilogy as well as Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Addams Family, Llyod (like Shatner and Smart) has had a great and illustrious career in Hollywood. Although, his acting appearance have been limited of late due to his age. So, I was definitely pleased to se Llyod acting again in this movie. That being said, his character of Sal is pushed aside for large portions of the movie and is never fully giving the chance to shine. It’s disappointing because Llyod is probably the most memorable character of the entire cast of Senior Moment.
The other supporting characters such as actor Don McManus (Vice and Justified) as helpful shyster Rock Kendall, actor Esai Morales (La Bamba and Jericho) as wealthy businessman Diego Lozana, actor Carlos Miranda (Warrior and Dallas) as Victor’s street car rival / friend Pablo Torres, actress Maya Stojan (Castle and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D) as Caroline’s niece Sonia Summers, actress Katrina Bowden (Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and 30 Rock) as Victor’s younger woman fling Kristen James, and actress Beth Littleford (Mystery, Alaska and Crazy, Stupid, Love) as stern assistant DA Tess Woodson are, much like the principal characters, woefully underdeveloped and are heavily sketched as thinly caricatures. The acting isn’t bad, but their characters and what they represent in the movie are terrible to the point that its almost a bit cringeworthy to watch.
After losing his driver license, Victor Martin finds out more about his life and blossoming relationship with a woman in the movie Senior Moment. Director Giorgio Serafini’s latest film tries to frame a feature film around the wacky and loveable antics of senior citizens; finding passion and realization within its narrative. Despite having a breezy runtime and a harmless appeal, the film never really goes anywhere; relying too heavily upon commonplace narrative tropes and cliches, especially in the movie’s direction, a tiresome / boring script, terribly unfunny comedy, wooden dialogue, predictable / formulaic plot, uninteresting caricatures characters, and a wasted opportunity for most of the cast involved. Personally, I didn’t particular care for this movie. Yes, while the story is quite harmless and has that sense of “fluff” within the easy to digest tropes, the film itself is completely bland and derivate. More to the point, the movie is just flat out unfunny. Thus, my recommendation for this movie is gonna have to be a definite “skip it” as it isn’t worth a viewer’s time or attention is one of those features that will most likely fade into obscurity. And probably for good reason. All in all, Senior Moment has its intentions in the right place, but lacks basically everything in making a halfway decent movie; making the whole endeavor a truly unmemorable (and derivatively bland) time waster of a movie.
1.4 Out of 5 (Skip It)
Released On: March 26th, 2021
Reviewed On: April 10th, 2021
Senior Moment is 92 minutes long and is not rated by the MPAA, but I would say it would be PG-13 for some sexual references and language