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Getting Up and Going Home

You're nearing 50 and you have a beautiful wife who loves you, a wonderful daughter, a successful law practice and a home in the suburbs. You're Jack Montgomery, the protagonist in "Getting Up and Going Home," who has all of these things and one more: a monumental midlife crisis.

You’re nearing 50 and you have a beautiful wife who loves you, a wonderful daughter, a successful law practice and a home in the suburbs. You’re Jack Montgomery, the protagonist in “Getting Up and Going Home,” who has all of these things and one more: a monumental midlife crisis.

Lifetime’s premiere movie addresses the time-tested, much-used premise in a somewhat ordinary way, which, in this case, is not a bad way at all.

“Getting Up” has none of the eccentricities of Blake Edwards’ “10” nor the emotional grit of the Gene Hackman-starrer “Twice in a Lifetime.”

It does have a very insightful sense of what many people go through as they reach the terrible 50s, and it presents the material simply, linearly, in easy-to-take doses.

What makes this movie work is the characters. Tom Skerritt, particularly, makes the most of his role as Jack, who is being dragged through his 49th year by inertia and an impending sense of doom.

His nuanced performance shows us the confusion of someone who feels controlled by events around him, who cannot make up his mind and is loath to let go of his past.

Blythe Danner is solid as his wife, who still loves Jack but chooses separation and a new path after 26 years of marriage.

Roma Downey, the married woman who has an affair with Jack, is believable enough in her role. And Julianne Phillips adds spark as the woman who gives Jack a reason to ultimately let go of his past.

Pic’s weaknesses show up on the technical side. The direction, for example, could have used more oomph, as pacing in many scenes slowed noticeably. Also, flashback sequences seemed hokey and forced.

The set and photography are undistinguished, and the music is all right except for some sappy scenes that have Phillips’ Janet playing the piano.

But this does not detract from the characters’ appeal–their very real vulnerabilities. At first glance, Skerritt’s Jack seems wimpish, almost passionless, and you understand why his wife wants out.

But as the pic progresses, Skerritt convinces you that Jack is simply at sea with the circumstances of his life.

In the end, you care about what happens to this guy–you can understand his angst.

The script is unremarkable; there is barely a memorable exchange. In fact, the writing is nothing if not average. But somehow the no-frills approach works this time and adds up to a compelling argument to get up, go home and watch this movie.

Getting Up and Going Home

(Tues. (21), 9-11 p.m., Lifetime)

  • Production: Filmed in and around Los Angeles by Carroll Newman Prods. and the Polone Co. in association with Hearst Entertainment Prods. Executive producer, Judith A. Polone; co-executive producer, Richard Colla; producer, Carroll Newman; director , Steven Schachter; writer, Peter Nelson, based on novel by Robert Anderson; director of photography, Edward Pei.
  • Crew: Editor, Michael Hoey; music, James Dipasquale; casting, Wendy Kurtzman; costume design, Colleen Kelsall; set decoration, K.C. Fox.
  • Cast: Cast: Tom Skerritt, Blythe Danner, Roma Downey, Julianne Phillips, Bruce Kirby, Gary Frank, Darian Harewood, Blaire Baron, Donal F. Logue, Leah Remini, Phil Rubinstein, Paul Sand, Mary E. Tanner, Christian Cousins, Rusty Schwimmer, Lindsey Ginter, Jack Kenny.
  • Music By: