Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sundance Review: Land Ho! - 2 1/2 stars

A pair of former brothers-in-law take a trip to Iceland together.  That's the story. 

Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) is from Louisiana.  He's a recently retired doctor, and kind of a good old boy.  He's likes to get high and he's always up for a good time.  His companion on the trip is Colin (Paul Eenhoorn), an Australian who's kind of a sourpuss. 

Their dynamic was probably inspired by Miles and Jack from Sideways.  Colin just wants to stay in, and Mitch wants to go out and party.  Their second day in Iceland, Mitch arranges a night on the town with two young ladies.  One of them is his niece, but he says "beautiful women begat other beautiful women."

The first act of this movie was just delightful.  Mitch is hilarious, and it seemed like a good road trip movie was ahead of us.  But the movie gets to a point where it just seems like the screenwriter ran out of ideas.  The middle of the movie goes nowhere and the movie started to lose me.

As much fun as Mitch is, some of his dialogue seems very scripted and out of character.  He's always talking about sex, but once in a while he says something that just seems over the top, even for him.  The rendezvous with the two women goes nowhere, which is good because it would have been a bit creepy if either of the old guys had hooked up with the young women.  But they are only in the movie for about 10 minutes, and once they leave their presence is missed.  After about a half hour of just the two guys, I got tired of their company.

There is another nice encounter late in the movie.  While at a natural hot spring in the mountains of Iceland, they meet a Canadian woman.  She and Colin have nice chemistry together.

Besides the obvious similarities to Sideways, it also reminded me at times of The Trip.  While there are no Michael Caine impressions, they do talk about movies a lot and there are Arnold Schwarzenegger impressions.  There is also a scene where they go out to dinner and the camera takes time focusing on the dishes they're eating.

The movie is nice and sweet.  Overall I did like the characters and mostly enjoyed the time spent with them.  But it seems like the movie was lacking.  There wasn't enough drama or pathos, and the laughs are few and far between late in the movie.  It's close, but I can't quite recommend this movie.

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