Play the Game

Reviews - Movies

Written by John Delia   

Friday, 27 February 2009

I don’t remember when I have laughed so much at a showing of a movie involving older people.  Well, Play the Game did it for me!  The wonderful little story took me by surprise, kept my attention throughout and provided me with some great entertainment.  To tell the truth, I didn’t know Andy Griffith and Liz Sheridan had it in them to pull it off.  Pull off what you say?  Well, it may be gross to some and engrossing to others, but in the world of sex, yes, oldsters still do it.

The story goes something like this:  Ladies' man David (Campbell) teaches his dating tricks to his lonely, widowed grandfather Joe (Griffith), while using those same tricks to meet Julie (Sokoloff), the woman of his dreams. While David's foolproof techniques prove to be anything but, the same techniques quickly transform Joe into the Don Juan of the retirement community, leading to an unexpected intimate affair with Edna (Sheridan).  But soon, it’s up to Joe to teach David that sometimes the best way to win the game of love is not to play games at all. 

I liked the feisty little film as all the characters were interesting, the actors on their mark, and the directing brilliant.  I was totally amazed by the performance of Griffith as the old-timer lost in memories in his retirement home.  In Play the Game he shows how spry an 82 year-old can be with a memorable characterization that is enchanting and admirable.  Check out his very suave dance steps for laughs.

All who have seen Liz Sheridan (Seinfeld) before know what a great comedian she is, and in this film she shines even more.  I loved her performance as the forward woman that goes after Joe and teaches him some new tricks.  But, she’s also the one who brings Joe back to the reality that life has some downfalls as well.

You will probably recognize Doris Roberts from Everybody Loves Raymond.  Here she plays the lonely widow that picks up the pieces.  Seeing her in this film reminded me of how many times I have seen Roberts in her over 100 appearances in film and TV.  She is the consummate actress that most all have come to love.

The film is written and directed by Fienberg, who treats the production with a loving hand, making his characters enjoyable to watch.  His ability to bring out the best is shown in the performance of both Griffith and Campbell. 

The film does contain some sexual material and some brief language.

FINAL ANALYSIS:  A great film for those in love, and a look at life’s realities. 

This Reviewer's Rating: 4 / 5