By-the-numbers heartwarmer could do small biz with older auds, although production is better scaled to stay-at-home outlets. "Will & Grace" star Eric McCormack has some younger fans (also of the tube persuasion), but they'll be disappointed by the lack of wit to his role, that of a young fogy battling sprightly geezers. "Here's to Life" takes a solid cast and hands them chances aplenty to ham it up with a script that crudely blends road-movie cliches with TV schmaltz.

By-the-numbers heartwarmer could do small biz with older auds, although production is better scaled to stay-at-home outlets. “Will & Grace” star Eric McCormack has some younger fans (also of the tube persuasion), but they’ll be disappointed by the lack of wit to his role, that of a young fogy battling sprightly geezers.

“Here’s to Life” takes a solid cast and hands them chances aplenty to ham it up with a script that crudely blends road-movie cliches with TV schmaltz. Ossie Davis, Kim Hunter and James Whitmore — whose eyebrows alone buffet younger players across the soundstage — are crusty oldsters busting out of a stuffy retirement home for one last kick at the can. Oddly, they bring along the center’s neurotic manager (McCormack), to give him some lessons in life and love. Helmer Arne Olsen fails to offer his lead any chemistry with sudden g.f. Marya Delver, and the buttoned-down protag goes through his growth arc so quickly, he’s forced to deliver an expository soliloquy perched atop a Victoria, B.C., lighthouse, thereby providing unintended laughs. Tech values are routine, except for jazzman Pat Caird’s strong score. Hunter looks terrific.

Here's To Life

Canada

Production

A Red Sky (Canada) presentation of a Mulberry Hills production (Vancouver) in association with Rock Up a Hill Prods. (International sales: Overseas Film Group, L.A.) Produced by William Vince. Executive producer, Charles Martin Smith. Co-producer, Rob Merilees. Directed, written by Arne Olsen.

Crew

Camera (color), David Geddes; editor, Lisa Binkley; music, Patric Caird; production designer, Don MacAulay; costume designer, Patricia Hargreaves. Reviewed at Vancouver Film Festival, Sept. 18, 1999. Running time: 94 MIN.

With

Eric McCormack, James Whitmore, Kim Hunter, Ossie Davis, Marya Delver, Margaret Ryanm Tyler labine, Sarah Hayward, Eileen Barrett, George Touliatos, Charles Martin Smith.
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