Archive for the ‘Andy Griffith’ Category

Play The Game

12 Oct

Play The Game — directed by Mark Feinberg — a comedy in which a gentleman in his 9th decade is coached by his lady-killer grandson to date again.

105 minutes color 2008.

* * * * *

A sex comedy in order to work must depend not upon sex but upon wit. The comedies of Ernst Lubitsch shine forth at this moment to illustrate this truth. And this piece is quite good as an execution of cinema wit, by which I mean a wit that  can only be rendered in moving pictures, rather than repartee or physical comedy or routines or situation, all of which this story also has its own fair supply of. Here the story is told as a split screen without the split — first the lady-killer’s pick-ups which operate with the same craftiness as he so successfully sells new cars –and the second in which his grandfather, with reduced sexual resources, embarks upon a tutorial in mashing. Andy Griffith is a sweet old peanut as gramps, and he is careful to play the sexual scenes with the innocence and pleased surprise of a vestal virgin at an orgy. Griffith began his career as Dusty Rhodes, a Southern-fried demagog in Kazan’s A Face In The Crowd, ruthlessly sexual from beginning to end, so no one should be surprised at his ending up as an octogenarian lady’s man. Only the sexual scenes themselves lack wit. All we should see is Griffith’s face as he experiences for the first time — whatever. We should never know in any way what is actually going on. His female mentor is the titanically sexy Liz Sheridan, and she is something to behold. On the other side, so is Paul Campbell as the grandson. Set against Ken Howard perfectly cast as a remarkably ugly-natured father, he has no role model. When he meets his mate, well, the only thing that is missing is the fact that he has fallen for a person less beautiful than he is, a fact that is made nothing of by the director or by the actor who plays her. Campbell is an adept light comedy performer, with smug dimples, and one hopes these and his other gifts take him far. The picture, it will be remembered, resembles the Warren Beatty produced The Pick-Up Artist an early of Robert Downey Junior as the player and Mildred Dunnock as the grandmother, but this one is well worth one’s viewing on its own.


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