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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

Never Too Late (M) - 98 minutes

A mind-numbing comedy for senior citizens, Never Too Late relies on fanciful nonsense to move the story forward.

A voiceover at the get go by Jacqui Weaver as love interest Norma McCarthy sets the scene.

She met a tall handsome soldier Jack Bronson (played as an elderly gent by James Cromwell) at a jetty at sunset the day before he shipped out to Vietnam.

If he’d asked her to marry him there and then, she would have said “yes”.

As it was, he and three comrades – Angus Wilson (Jack Thompson), Jeremiah Caine (Dennis Waterman) and James Wendell (Roy Billing) – from an elite squad fought in the war, were captured, held as prisoners and escaped.

The quartet became known as The Chain Breakers.

Now, one by one, all of them have made their way to the same retirement home for returned servicemen and women.

All have a variety of ailments.

The last to arrive and the man around whom the story is built is the tall handsome soldier, Bronson, who was their leader.

Although he doesn’t feel he belongs in a retirement home for old codgers, one of the first people he spots is his old flame.

He has carried a torch for her all these years and she reciprocates his feelings, even though they haven’t set eyes upon one another for five decades.

Only before he can finally rectify his error of not asking her for her hand in marriage when on the jetty, she – who is suffering from the early stages of dementia – is whisked away, out of that home into another.

The rest of the movie deals with Bronson and his cohorts and various hangers on trying to break out of the home, so he can pop the question to his beloved.

We also get the back stories of Bronson’s comrades.

I ask you, who makes up this nonsense? Well, I can give you an answer. The story is by Luke Preston and Grant Carter, with the former responsible for the screenwriting.

Ten years ago, Preston wrote a TV movie and before than he had written a couple of shorts. Direction is by Mark Lamprell.

Collectively the key players are painted as silly old farts.

Rather than simply laying his cards on the table, Bronson hatches elaborate plans, invariably involving subterfuge, to try to get what he is after.

I understand if that was not the case, there wouldn’t have been enough content for a short, let alone a feature, but the thing that troubles me is the lightweight plot treats oldies with contempt.

The humour is puerile and more often than not obvious.

The actors appear like caricatures rather than flesh and blood.

It looks for all money like they are delivering lines.

The cast also includes Shane Jacobson as the son of one of the vets and Max Cullen as another old dude way past his prime.

In short, I was left bitterly disappointed by the vacuousness of what I was being fed.

Instead of an intelligent adult comedy, I was witness to almost 100 minutes of errant claptrap and that included a syrupy soundtrack.

Perhaps and more accurately, this balderdash should have been titled Too Far Gone or Far Too Late.

Rated M, Never Too Late scores a 2 out of 10.


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