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Land Ho!

by Leonard Maltin
July 10, 2014 8:52 PM
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Photo by Andrew Reed - Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

I don’t relish the role of party pooper, but Land Ho! did not live up to my expectations. The micro-indie won so many plaudits at the Sundance Film Festival this year—and a distribution deal from Sony Pictures Classics—that I had every reason to anticipate a (modestly) rewarding experience. What I got was a likable but very slight seriocomedy. It’s not bad, but it had no particular resonance, either. Perhaps if I’d discovered it at Sundance, knowing nothing about it, I might have had a different response.

Land Ho! is about two ex-brothers-in-law who haven’t seen each other in a while. Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) is a retired doctor with a rowdy, sexually charged sense of humor. Sheer boredom inspires him to invite the taciturn Aussie Colin (Paul Eenhoorn), also a restless retiree, to join him on a trip to Iceland. Their trip involves a variety of scenic adventures and personal encounters along the way. Mitch’s nonstop exuberance gets on Colin’s nerves at times, but the two senior citizens manage to cover a lot of ground and shake themselves out of their comfort zone.

Nelson is not a professional actor, but filmmakers Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz take full advantage of his outgoing personality, which stands in sharp contrast to Eenhoorn’s quiet demeanor. Exotic Iceland provides a wide variety of backdrops—from a geyser to an inviting hot-springs pool—for the film’s varied vignettes.

Land Ho! is perfectly pleasant viewing, but I wanted more from it than I got.           

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More: Film Reviews, Martha Stephens, Aaron Katz

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  • Rodger Lodger | July 14, 2014 7:52 PMReply

    If you're worried about being an old geezer, see this film. It's fun and for once humanizes older men without turning them into weepers, basket cases, widowers, depressives, clowns, cutie-pies, "last angry men", or any of that other rot that's been passes for portrayal of old age in film land. It's enjoyable, relaxing, and it ain't Citizen Kane neither.

  • Rodger Lodger | July 14, 2014 7:53 PM

    Forgot, one is a widower, but he's not acting like a filmland widower.

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