Last Chance Harvey (2008)

JOEL HOPKINS

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB

USA, 2008.  Overture Films, Process Media.  Screenplay by Joel Hopkins.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  Golden Globe Awards 2008.  

Dustin Hoffman is barely holding onto his commercial jingle-writing career as he gets off a plane in London to attend the wedding of his estranged daughter (). Ignored at the pre-party and ceremony, he goes to return to the U.S. to save his job when he finds out he’s been fired and that there’s no need to come home right away. Emma Thompson is a public statistics employee who spends her days being ignored by airline passengers on their way home from the airport and her nights going on dull blind dates with men who are most definitely not her speed. These two lonely people accidentally meet at the airport bar (well, what else is new) and spend the day getting to know each other in the loveliest possible way: strolling through gorgeous London. A charming concept and two of the finest actors on the silver screen don’t do much to overcome pedestrian direction and an unsurprising script. Both Hoffman and Thompson are exceptionally good, but they have very little chemistry together and their May-December romance makes no sense. Their separate paths are worth investing in as they’re each compelling characters, but why anyone would want them to have more than a day together is a complete mystery. It’s good to see Hoffman try his hand at romantic comedy, and Thompson hasn’t had this rich a role in a while (she positively glows, actually), but when he gives the requisite Dustin Hoffman Teaches Us About Life speech at the wedding (not to be confused with the Al Pacino Rants About Injustice speech) the film just descends into the perfectly banal. Also features doing a terrific job with her few moments as Hoffman’s ex-wife.

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