Monday, February 12, 2007

movie minute

This movie just opened in my area and I FINALLY got to see it.

It's the old vs. the new in the Roger Michell directed Venus (R). Peter O'Toole stars as Maurice, the "professor of pussy", as one character describes him; a man who needs pills each day to help him wake up. His best friend is Ian, played by the cantankerous Leslie Phillips. When Ian's great niece comes to help him out with day to day stuff, Maurice is more than happy to take her off of Ian's hands; much to Ian's relief. The her in that sentence is the winsome yet pouty Jessie, played by newcomer Jodie Whittaker.

Soon Maurice faces a health crisis and at the same time he becomes closer to Jessie. He opens her up to culture and takes her shopping; she allows him a smell here and a touch there. Yes, their relationship does get a bit creepy at times and it's not clear how old Jessie is but it sure does smell like she could be jailbait. It's also one of the most dysfunctional early May/late December romances I've ever seen. As Ian becomes aware of their relationship, it threatens to ruin the Maurice/Ian friendship. Some of the best scenes in the movie come from O'Toole and Phillips playing off of each other and the always welcome Richard Griffiths is even thrown in for extra fun. As the relationship becomes more conflicted, the movie looks like it might fall flat but it is redeemed in the end; predictably, but redeemed nonetheless.

O'Toole may have slowed but he's still got it; his blue eyes may have dulled but they are still as piercing as ever. Sadly, the role of the wife, Valerie, is all but wasted in this movie and it's played by Vanessa Redgrave. In my opinion, however, the best scene in the movie is the scene in which Maurice makes dinner for Valerie.

It's not a great movie but it is charming and if you are a fan of O'Toole you won't be disappointed by him.

Bags of popcorn (out of 5): 2.5


No comments: