It should come as no surprise that Dustin Hoffman would eventually step
behind the camera. After all, he’s an actor noted for depth,
intelligence and an intuitiveness perfectly suited to working with
others in order to bring the best out of them.
A show about horseracing might seem too niche to captivate a wide audience, but HBO’s Luck is entertaining for all types of viewers thanks to the varied perspectives from inside the track. Dustin Hoffman stars as Ace, an organized
crime man fresh out of his stint in federal prison.
Rather than devoting time to tracking what could have been the comic evolution of the relationship between male nurse Greg Focker (Ben Stiller) and his former CIA agent father-in-law Frank (Robert De Niro), director Paul Weitz seemingly ended up dangling money before his performers to get them to react on cue in this rote, terribly unfunny exercise. Grade: D-.
We need more movies like 'Last Chance Harvey' to cover the middle ground on relationships. It not only respects actors (Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson), it respects their legacy, their back-story. And why can’t other actors of a certain age (Jack Nicholson, Morgan Freeman, Al Pacino, etc.) try similar films rather than the stale and dishonest action pieces and buddy comedies they grind out?
Audiences will likely find solace in the homey comforts of watching Hoffman and Thompson find a measure of love that feels true despite all that we've come to expect from the usual romantic-comedy presentations of love. There is none of the usual phony, overly plotted drama, just a lifetime of hurt and remorse infused with a dash of hope. Grade: B.