November 5, 2016 -- This film is obviously a showcase for the considerable talents of actress Sally Field, who turns 70 tomorrow, but it is also funny, and there are some interesting characters besides Doris (Fields) an “old maid” who wants a lot more out of her life than she's been getting.
Doris has spent years taking care of her mother, a hoarder who lives in a cluttered house. She has also worked for many years at a dead end office job in New York, taking the ferry and subway to work every day from her home in Staten Island. After her mother dies. Doris must find a new direction for her life, but is tempted to stick to her old life.
Inspired by a self-help guru (played by Peter Gallagher of “Conviction”) she decides to romantically pursue John, a much younger man (played by Max Greenfield of “The Big Short”) who works at her office. In a sequence that seems more like a romantic farce, she becomes a kind of techno music goddess and seems to be making progress towards a romance with John.
At home, she is having trouble with her family, who wants to sell the house she has lived in all her life. All the things in the house that she clings to are considered junk by her family, but she can't part with the junk, or move out of the house. Her brother, Todd (Stephen Root of “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates”) tries to work with Doris, but pushes too hard, causing her to explode with anger.
As she continues her pursuit of John, she also alienates her friends, including her oldest friend, Roz (Tyne Daley of “Cagney & Lacey”) who is very upset when Doris decides to spend Thanksgiving with John and his friends instead of with Roz and her family. Roz's granddaughter (Isabella Acres) however, helps Doris pursue her romantic goal by helping her create a fake social media account.
As the story veers from comedy to drama and back again, the characters, who at first appear to be mere clichés, develop depth and reveal themselves in unexpected ways. At first, this movie seems like an exercise in quirky characters who are funny just because they are quirky, but when the characters, including Todd, reveal unexpected emotional depth, and consideration for each other, the movie climbs to another level.
This is a mixed bag of a movie, but it is funny, and heartwarming in places, and it is an opportunity to rediscover older talented actors like Field and Daley. Older women in Hollywood don't get many opportunities like this, and these two make the most of this one. This film rates a C+.
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