TWO STARS Harris is a writer who had a best seller fifty years ago. His publisher wants a repeat
DRAMA US #BESTSELLERS
Aubrey Plaza, Michael Caine
Harris Shaw is a curmudgeon. The ageing author had a best seller in the 1970s and now his desperate and soon-to-be-bankrupt publishing house comes calling for a new manuscript in the hope he will save their business. Shaw was a grouchy writer then, and is an outrageously rude recluse now. His heart is not thawed by the publisher’s perky daughter, a 30-something who inherited the business from the man who put Shaw on the literary map all those years ago. Will she convince him to give them a new book? Will he commit to the contractual speaking tour? Will Harris save her business?
You know where this is going, right? An odd-couple buddy-movie tied to a road-trip and anchored by Michael Caine’s ‘geriatric swears on screen’ appeal. Will the couple learn to respect one another? Will the begin to like one another? Will his book become a hit? Of course they will, this isn’t about dramatic tension, this is all about character and your buy-in to how their development develops.
Frankly, if any of this is feeling in any way familiar, chances are your buy-in will be slight because development is mostly an exercise in box-ticking. That leaves the cast to do the heavy lifting. Caine is typically Caine and thus Aubrey Plaza as Shaw’s publisher is cast to keep proceedings alive. She does her best and is an agreeable presence, but is unable to find a way to mold this debut from writer Anthony Grieco and director Lina Roessler into something more than their calling card.
BEST SELLERS is passable entertainment that’s unlikely to live up to its title.