Any comic juice in the idea of an aging man convinced his younger self has come back to life quickly evaporates in Michael Prywes' "Returning Mickey Stern." The indie project is undone by an idea capable of hanging together for 30 minutes at best, and April L.A. and Gotham dates will be the main theatrical window, followed by cable retirement.

Any comic juice in the idea of an aging man convinced his younger self has come back to life quickly evaporates in Michael Prywes’ “Returning Mickey Stern.” With the always-welcome presence of Joseph Bologna (who also produced) pouring his heart into the role of Mickey, as well as a fairly engaging turn by tyro thesp Joshua Fishbein as Mickey’s supposed doppelganger, pic has some character portraits with occasional vitality. But the indie project is undone by an idea capable of hanging together for 30 minutes at best, and April L.A. and Gotham opening dates will be the main theatrical window, followed by cable retirement.

Mourning the loss of his wife and true love Leah, ex-major-leaguer Mickey joins pal Harry (Tom Bosley) on a memory-lane visit to Fire Island, where his 1950 romance with Leah was sparked — shown in poorly staged and lensed B&W flashbacks. Mickey finds young people who are the very image of him and Leah 50 years younger, and, in the form of a very soft and contrived romantic comedy, he tries vainly to bring them together.

Returning Mickey Stern

Production

A Metroscape Entertainment release and presentation of a 2 Life! Films production in association with Manticore Films. Produced by Michael Prywes, Jason Akel, Victor Erdos, Joseph Bologna. Executive producers, Barry J. Charles, Joseph Brad Kluge. Line producer, Stacy Hope Herman. Directed, written by Michael Prywes.

Crew

Camera (DuArt color, B&W), Mark Smith; editor, Suzanne Pillsbury; music, Jeff Jones; art director, Nicole Pressly; costume designer, Jocelyn Worrall. Reviewed on videotape, L.A., Feb. 2, 2003. (In Palm Springs Film Festival.) MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 91 MIN.

With

Joseph Bologna. Tom Bosley, Kylie Delre, Joshua Fishbein, Michael Oberlander, Sarah Schoenberg, John Sloan, Connie Stevens, Brett Tabisel, Renee Taylor.
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