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"Boynton Beach Club"

Directed by Susan Seidelman ("Desperately Seeking Susan").
Written by Shelley Gitlow and Susan Seidelman.
Starring Brenda Vaccaro, Len Cariou, Joseph Bologna and Dyan Cannon.

Release Year:  2005
Review Date:  8/15/06


You wouldn't think that a movie about the senior citizen dating scene would be worth watching, right?  I didn't either, but after dragging myself to the theater, I have to admit that I'm glad I gave "Boynton Beach Club" a chance.

An indie that is making the rounds here in Washington, "Boynton Beach Club" is about a small community in Florida that has a fairly unique social club--many of its members are widowers, and to cope, they regularly meet on Tuesdays to discuss the problems they are having adjusting to life on their own.  It's also a pretty hot pickup scene!  You've got one of the newest members, Marilyn (Brenda Vaccaro), who loses her husband right as the film opens, when a woman just chatting away on her cell phone neglects to check behind her when she backs up her car, killing Marilyn's husband.  Marilyn meets our other new friends:  ladies' man Harry (Joseph Bologna), who has a penchant for meeting seniors online; Jack (Len Cariou), who comes to realize that he never really knew his wife of 40 years while getting to know--intimately--a woman named Sandy (Sally Kellerman) who lives down the street; and of course, there's Lois (Dyan Cannon), a veritable stick figure in this slightly-overweight community that has "town hottie" written all over her.  Despite the fact that she's pushing 70, Lois is down with a local real estate developer (Michael Nouri) who has got an eye for her.

We've got some storylines to follow, but "Boynton Beach Club" is mainly about getting us into the highs and lows of being single and 65; beyond that, it is fun to see the comedic and dramatic elements of what the scene might be like for someone that has only seen one person naked in the last 40 years, or someone that hasn't cooked their own meals in...well, ever, or someone that no longer drives because the man that used to drive her around is suddenly a member of the deceased.  There are some truly great laughs in this film, which kind of surprised me; director Susan Seidelman does a somewhat-good job of keeping the action on track, although sometimes her performers just don't feel natural for some reason.  I could never place it, but sometimes, our comedy just felt a little too rehearsed.

Despite this, I really loved these performers; there are many places that you look at and can't place, but getting through that, the actors work well together.  Cannon's energy is a surprise given that she really is almost 70 years old in real life; is this the same woman always jumping up and down at Lakers games?  I don't think I've ever seen a Cannon film but I must go back to check out her catalog of work.  Bologna is playing the funniest character in the film; between giving out advice to Jack or going out on a date with someone that he meets online, the laughs his character generates are steady and maybe the film's best asset.  Of course, Vaccaro and Cariou are solid, but the film's best acting might belong to Kellerman as the aging, vulnerable former sexpot who has some tough moments later in the film.

I didn't love it, but as a serviceable comedy covering a much-avoided topic, "Boynton Beach Club" is good stuff.  Again, check your local listings; this one may or may not hit an indie multiplex near you soon.

Rating:  Matinee


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Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

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All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09