Boynton Beach Club

Filmmakers today make movies that appeal to the group of people that go to theaters most often - teenagers.  Adults often feel left out, because there is nothing that would appeal to them.  Must Love Dogs, a recent romantic comedy is shifting more towards an older demographic by focusing on two divorcees, but this movie was more about a new way to tell the same story rather than something new.  Boynton Beach Club is a movie that many "older" people will enjoy, primarily because it deals with them in a manner that is not condescending.  It still fairly fluffy and mindless, but does touch upon some topics that films usually stay away from.

Director Susan Seidelman (Gaudi Afternoon), who wrote the screenplay with Shelly Gitlow after the story from Susan Seidelman and David Cramer, weaves together interrelated stories of members of the Boynton Beach Bereavement Club.  This is a club in a retirement home, er, active retirement community in Boynton Beach, Florida.  The club serves as a way for members who have lost a spouse to talk about their feelings and begin the process of moving on.  Two members, Jack Goodman (Len Cariou, The Greatest Game Ever Played, Secret Window) and Marilyn Cooper (Brenda Vaccaro, Sonny, The Mirror Has Two Faces) are new members, both trying to figure out what to do in light of their loss.  Cooper's husband always took care of everything, so now she has to learn how to do things like pay the bills, and get a new license.  Goodman just finds himself extremely lonely, and doesn't really want to do anything.

Boynton Beach Club simply has an amazing cast.  Cariou and Caccaro are joined by Dyan Cannon (Kangaroo Jack, Kiss of a Stranger), Joseph Bologna (Ice Age:  The Meltdown, Returning Mickey Stern), Sally Kellerman (American Virgin), and Michael Nouri (Last Holiday, The Terminal) all play large roles.  All are distinguished actors with long careers, and unfortunately, most are relegated to supporting roles nowadays.  It's nice seeing them front and center, unashamed of their age and working on a story that deals specifically with aging.  The script pokes a bit of fun about their age, but is also surprisingly adept at looking into their hopes and fears.

Bologna and Cannon are Harry Fanelli and Lois Martin, two other members of the club that take Goodman and Cooper under their wings.  Fanelli, now a swinging single man, encourages Goodman to learn to cook, be self-sufficient, and play the odds (most of the members are women).  When Sandy Welles (Kellerman) comes into the picture, Fanelli encourages Goodman to pursue the relationship.  Coopers' loss was more tragic, and Martin is there to coax her out of her shell.  Coopers' story is less about new love and more about learning how to cope with loss.  She is angry and sad and frightened and not sure how to deal with any of it.  She lives vicariously through Martin, who is entering into what seems like a great relationship with Donald Peterson (Nouri), a real estate developer.  Aside from the ages of the main characters, Boynton Beach Club plays much like any other romantic comedy, except for a little more depth.  This is probably exactly what Seidelman wanted.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad.
1 hour, 41 minutes, Not Rated but contains languague, nudity, and sexual situations, an easy R.

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