Friday 19 May 2023

Movie Review: Best Sellers (2021)

Genre: Dramedy
Director: Lina Roessler
Starring: Michael Caine, Aubrey Plaza, Scott Speedman, Ellen Wong, Cary Elwes
Running Time: 102 minutes

Synopsis: Lucy Stanbridge (Aubrey Plaza) is running the book publishing house made famous by her father. In financial difficulty and desperate for a best-seller, she turns to crusty retired author Harris Shaw (Michael Caine), whose one and only book was published by Stanbridge 50 years prior. Shaw reluctantly agrees to publish his latest manuscript and go on a promotional tour, but he is more interested in drinking and swearing than promoting anything.

What Works Well: Working from an Anthony Grieco script, director Lina Roessler crafts a heartfelt story about the past influencing the present, both Harris and Lucy dealing with the burden of legacies and expectations. After a lighter introduction, the second half is more sorrowful, as Harris confronts his regrets and Lucy grapples with defining her own future. Aubrey Plaza and Michael Caine shine in their key moments, while Harris' foul-mouthed crankiness provides a reliable source of social media-ready humour.

What Does Not Work As Well: The material is slight and Roessler stretches it thin to clamber over the 100 minute mark. Internal inconsistencies arise once Harris' past insecurities clash with his present literary resonance. Meanwhile, Scott Speedman as a rival publisher and Cary Elwes as a haughty book critic are both marginally underused. Ellen Wong enjoys a strong start as Lucy's assistant but also fades.

Conclusion: Modest and modestly enjoyable reflection on life's jumbled epilogues and prologues.

All Ace Black Movie Blog reviews are here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We welcome reader comments about this post.