Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson, Karrie Crouse, Elizabeth McKee, Alice Olivia Clarke
Martha Stephens, Aaron Katz
M (offensive language, sexual references, drug use)
Verdict: Enjoyable tale of old geezers on the road.
Unassuming and amiable, this road-trip buddy comedy, which played in the festival last year, belongs squarely in the sub-genre of very-low-budget American indies with untrained actors and improvised dialogue that has been dubbed mumblecore.
Its striking point of difference is the age of its main characters: mumblecore films are generally by and about twentysomethings, but the buddies here are in their 70s.
Mitch (Nelson), a retired surgeon with a southern accent you could stand a spoon in, and expatriate Australian Colin (Eenhoorn), are one-time brothers-in-law who have drifted apart. The former shouts the latter a holiday in Iceland - "We're getting our groove back," he says at one point - and we come along for the ride.
In best odd-couple tradition, the pair are polar opposites: Mitch, always with a joint behind his ear, is garrulous and vulgar, kept just this side of sleazy by his big-hearted humour; Colin (what a perfect choice of name), a French horn player-turned-bank teller, is mild-mannered and lugubrious.
Things get a shake-up at the halfway mark when they are joined by Mitch's much younger second cousin Ellen (Crouse) and her friend Janet (McKee), but this is a film in which nothing much happens, and it keeps on happening. Therein lies most if its charm.
Shooting with two handheld cameras, the filmmakers view the human exchanges in close-up, which emphasises the impressiveness of the outdoor vistas. (The film is, incidentally, a comprehensive introduction to the scenic delights of a country that may impress New Zealand audiences less than those who have never seen geysers, waterfalls, hot springs and volcanic uplands, but is nevertheless gobsmackingly beautiful).
What it adds up to is more a series of vignettes than a singular story, but if you adopt Mitch's travelling motto about not being in a hurry to get anywhere, it is very easy to like.
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