Two excellent actors. One montage of a woman trying on dresses. A fifteen second commercial for Oxi Clean. Character flaws that get resolved in the first act instead of the third. A second act turn you see coming a mile away. A third act that lasts only seconds after a first act that lasts 80 of the 90 minute running time. From a writer/director who definitely owns a “how to write a screenplay” guide-book.
And it’s still a decent movie.
Last Chance Harvey has a 70% rating at Rotten Tomatoes, which is a bit high, I think – particularly when you read some of the reviews. Manohla Dargis of the New York Times nailed it when she wrote about this flick:
“But there’s something irresistible about watching two people fall in love, even in contrived, sniffle- and sometimes gag-inducing films like Last Chance Harvey . . . I reluctantly gave in to this imperfect movie, despite the cornball dialogue, pedestrian filmmaking, some wincing physical comedy and Mr. Hoffman’s habit of trying to win the audience over by simply staring at the camera with a hapless deadpan that says: Look at me, I’m still cute as a button, still cute as Benjamin in The Graduate, and I’m still kind of lost and still very much in need of your love.”
That’s this movie in a nutshell. Dustin Hoffman is good at what he does, but he’s busy playing Dustin Hoffman in this movie. Fortunately, Emma Thompson shows up and rocks the place, so that helps a lot.
I can’t recommend this movie, but I can’t say it sucks, either – it sits right in the tiny crevice of between crap and OK. Therefore, I’m giving Last Chance Harvey a 6.5 out of 10.