Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland as road-tripping senior spouses thumbing their noses at mortality — what could go wrong? A fair amount, it turns out, in this thin comedy from Italian director Paolo Virzì (“Human Capital”). John (Sutherland) is suffering from Alzheimer’s, though his dementia comes and goes with a convenience that suits the plot. His wife Ella (Mirren) has decided they’ll take their old RV down the East Coast to the Ernest Hemingway Home in Key West, Fla., as the author is a favorite of her retired-professor husband.
Ella’s a gregarious type who rattles on at everyone they meet with a lonely desperation, which becomes understandable (if no less tiresome) when she’s alone with John: He frequently forgets who she is and where they are. Meanwhile, their exasperated adult children (Christian McKay and Janel Moloney) try to locate the runaway parents.
It’s a sweet premise — Ella and John still love each other deeply, despite myriad problems and their declining health — that isn’t fleshed out well in the leaden screenplay, which leans heavily on the most obvious Americana trappings to gin up a lighter side of senility. John forgets Ella at a gas station, she enlists a motorcycle gang to chase him down with her on the back of a hog, clutching her wig tightly. This stuff feels beneath both Mirren and Sutherland, though they give it their all, especially in the scenes in which John’s mind is fully present. But even an 11th-hour cameo from the late Dick Gregory as Ella’s long-ago boyfriend can’t keep “The Leisure Seeker” from being, well, forgettable.
Source: Read Full Article