Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Talking Tribeca: Dog Years

I’ve had the pleasure of screening a number of selections from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which takes place April 19th-April 30th.

Dog Years
Directed by Adam Rifkin
Festival Screenings

If an actor lives long enough, he’s likely to come to a point in his career where he isn’t getting the roles he used to, or any roles at all. That’s assuming that he’s made all the right choices throughout the years, which, when money and other distractions get in the way, isn’t all that likely. The chance to matter again to someone or some group can be very appealing, and such stories are often excellent opportunities for real-life actors with similar or dissimilar experiences to portray what it looks like to have a shot at a career-defining comeback.

Vic Edwards (Burt Reynolds) used to be at the top. He was the number one box office star for six years in a row, and was well-known all around the world for his roles. Since then, he has been married five times, and, after the death of his dog, he is encouraged by his one remaining friend, Sonny (Chevy Chase), to accept an invitation to attend the International Nashville Film Festival, where he will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. A noticeable lack of first-class airfare is just the first in a series of disappointments as he ends up being chauffeured around by an unwilling driver, Lil (Ariel Winter), and has to look back at his life to see what it is that he has really accomplished.

This is a very typical film from this subgenre in many ways, with Vic reflecting on sunnier times while he can’t help but be the world’s worst curmudgeon in the present. Lil, representing the furthest thing from Alex Dunphy on “Modern Family” that you could possibly imagine, represents everything that Vic doesn’t like about the twenty-first century, and the time that she has to spend driving him around, including a nostalgic trip to his hometown of Knoxville, is inevitably going to help them build a true friendship despite their enormous differences.

Reynolds is a veteran actor with a great body of work that serves a fun if disorienting purpose as notable clips of his are edited to turn him into a young Vic, and in a few scenes the octogenarian actually appears next to his younger self in dream sequences and engages in conversation. This is a solid turn for Reynolds, and Winter holds her own quite well playing against type opposite him. As his biggest fans and the organizers of the festival, Clark Duke from “The Office” and Ellar Coltrane from “Boyhood” have fun supporting roles. This film may not have much in the way of new material or ideas to offer, but it’s an endearing nostalgia trip nonetheless.


No comments: