Review: ‘The Golden Boys’

Cape Cod circa 1905 provides the setting for romantic comedy "The Golden Boys."

Cape Cod circa 1905 provides the setting for Daniel Adams’ arthritic romantic comedy “The Golden Boys.” Doing the “Grumpy Old Men” triangle one better, three crusty retired sea captains — Bruce Dern, Rip Torn and David Carradine — vie for mail-order bride Mariel Hemingway. It seems particularly perverse to take actors who helped develop the ’60’s thesping style of hang-loose, semi-improvisational immediacy and stick them in a creaky period piece glazed with arch gentility and ersatz quaintness. Bowing April 17 at Gotham’s Quad Cinema, the pic might wind up moored in Lifetime or Hallmark channels before sinking without a trace.

Clumsily adapted by Adams from a 1915 novel, the script boasts an extraneous subplot involving Charles Durning as a religious zealot. Ploddingly directed, with the camera monotonously glued to whomever is speaking, the three principal geezers are encouraged to mug with a lack of subtlety that went out with silent movies. The vets emerge relatively unscathed, even managing to wrest the unwieldy vessel into port. But only Hemingway thrives, the odd hitches and hesitancies of her mannered approach neatly attuned to New England primness and suffused with surprising warmth.

The Golden Boys

Production

A Roadside Attractions release, in association with Cinemavault Releasing Intl./Tuchin Entertainment/High Wire Pictures, of a West Wind production. Produced by Daniel Adams, Matt Janes, Howard Katz, Michael Mailer. Executive producers, Chad Doe, Harris Tulchin, Nick Stiliadis. Co-producers, Anita Devlin, Craig Janney, Dennis Etzkorn. Directed, written by Daniels Adams, inspired by "Cap'n Eri" by Joseph C. Lincoln.

Crew

Camera (color), Philip Schwartz; editors, Stan Cole, Susan Graef; music, Jonathan Edwards; production designer, David Allen; costume designer, Deborah Newhall. Reviewed at Magno Review, New York, March 30, 2009. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Bruce Dern, Rip Torn, David Carradine, Mariel Hemingway, Charles Durning, John Savage, Julie Harris, Angelica Torn, Jason Allen Smith, Christy Scott Cashman.
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