Before I jump right into this review, it’s worth mentioning that this will be our very first film critique. That’s right folks, ATH is getting into the movie review game. I’ve always been a movie buff who enjoys talking shop with friends, so this seemed like a natural thing for me to undertake. And of course a free screening or an advance copy will always warrant some type of posting here. Which leads me to…..
Land Ho! – An American-Icelandic adventure comedy
Like I said, a free movie is a free movie, and I’m always grateful to those who think we are important enough to offer us their art for free. Thanks goes out to Sony and Violet Crown Cinema.
As I start this review I am unsure of what to say about the film, because honestly, not a whole lot really happens. Is that such a terrible thing in our day of Michael Bay explosions and former wrestlers dominating the weekly theatre numbers? Not at all, Land Ho! just seemed to fall a little short at times as a movie that chooses to focus mostly on scenes of dialogue and social interaction. The film certainly had some entertaining scenes between the two Grumpy Old Men style characters, but sometimes the interactions just grew a little stale and drawn out.
We begin our film with senior citizens Collin and Mitch, the later of which refuses to go by his God given name Leslie because it “sounds like a girl’s name”. From the first few scenes, you can tell that Collin is the intellectual, more well spoken one of the two, who speaks with an Australian accent and seems to enjoy the finer things in life. Mitch on the other hand is a crass, loud mouthed, fun loving good ‘ol boy from New Orleans who hasn’t seen a movie since Sleepless in Seattle and consistently refers to the female sex in the crudest way possible. For a large part of the film, this is basically what you get; Collin attempts to have thoughtful, provocative conversations about art or music and the audience giggles as Mitch attempts to lighten the mood with inappropriate jokes and “a little doobification” as he calls it.
In the opening scenes we establish that the pair know each other by formerly being married to a set of sisters. Mitch has been divorced for quite some time, while Collin’s wife passed away years ago only to see him remarry and divorce a short while after. Both men are also currently retired from working as a doctor and french horn player/banker respectively. Can you guess who did what? So both men are a bit down on their luck, reminiscing on old times, and Mitch surprises Collin that he has purchased first class tickets to Iceland and he plans to cover the entire thing with his riches from working in the medical field for many years. Why Iceland? Why not.
From here, the movie sort of turns into Grumpier Old Men (yes the second one) set in beautiful Iceland. I of course enjoyed the wonderful scenery and smiled to myself seeing several major landmarks that I saw with my own eyes just a month ago. At times though, the film almost seems like a shameless, tourist enticing travel video to boost the local economy. Yes, Mitch offers some funny one liners, but it starts getting a little old after the creepy comments seem to never stop. Collin even appears more and more irritated as the movie goes on when the pair have a mini verbal argument after Mitch leads them out into a pitch black night for an adventure only to get them lost.
Honestly, that’s about all you’re going to get here. An Icelandic travel video with a retired man making dick jokes while his companion rolls his eyes. Again, the movie can offer some laughs from time to time, but I felt like the characters needed more time to develop for us to truly care about their self discovery trip. At one point, Mitch even begins to tell the story of his recent forced retirement with the “short-version”, as I’m desperately hoping for the full version so maybe we can find out what really makes this guy tick. Not to be so, we get a 1 minute story and almost genuinely care about these guys, but rather we’re left with another reference to tight asses and Meg Ryan’s breasts.
The credits roll as the pair stroll into the famous Blue Lagoon spa in Reykjavik and I swear you can almost hear Mitch whispering in Collin’s ear that they definitely have a chance to score with the Icelandic babes in the pool. Movie over.
Final Verdict: The movie certainly has some genuine laughs and beautiful scenery, however it falls a little short with what could be interesting characters if given their due. Think Road Trip with your dirty grandpa.
Land Ho! will be coming to Austin theaters on August 15th.