Movie review: Laughing at old age in low-key ‘Land Ho!’
If you missed your chance of getting away for summer vacation, the low-key comedy "Land Ho!" is a great way to see the sights of Iceland with some charming traveling companions.
The tourists in question here are Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson), a retired Kentucky surgeon, and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn), a bank manager originally from Australia. Colin’s deceased first wife and Mitch’s ex-wife were sisters — and that, and their gray hair, is nearly all the two men have in common. Mitch is rambunctious and profane, Colin more reserved and quiet.
When they meet for the first time in years, Mitch surprises Colin with news that he has booked them first-class plane tickets to Iceland. And soon these 60-ish guys are off to see geysers, bask in hot springs, walk on black sandy beaches and have a good time.
In Reykjavik, the men meet up with Mitch’s 20-something cousin — "first cousin once removed," Mitch insists — Ellen (Karrie Crouse) and her friend Janet (Elizabeth McKee), both Ph.D. candidates at Columbia. They go out on the town, hitting clubs where Mitch aims to get his groove on, even though he and Colin are double the median age of the rest of the partygoers.
Mitch and Colin banter throughout the journey, trading movie trivia and family memories. As they get deeper into the journey, tempers occasionally flare — nothing serious, mind you, just the minor grumbles of two men who are old enough not to put up with petty annoyances.
Ultimately, Mitch is determined to show Colin, whose second marriage recently ended in divorce, a good time. "Don’t get that Sunday afternoon attitude," Mitch tells Colin. "Good times are still a-comin’!"
That devil-may-care attitude permeates "Land Ho!," as filmmakers Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, who co-wrote and co-directed, largely set Mitch and Colin on their way and follow the fun. Small adventures pop up along the way, and Nelson (who actually is a former surgeon, and Stephens’ real-life cousin) and Eenhoorn (who starred in the 2013 Sundance Film Festival hit "This Is Martin Bonner") are given space to let their characters blossom.
(Side note: "Land Ho!" is the first film out of the gate for Gamechanger Films, the production company recently launched by Utah Film Center founder Geralyn Dreyfous and her business partner, Dan Cogan, to support narrative works by female filmmakers.)
"Land Ho!" delights because it isn’t trying to make too much of itself. It’s simply a fun movie about two guys who will admit they’re getting older, but are damn sure not getting old.
Two former brothers-in-law go vacationing in Iceland in a low-key comedy that’s full of fun.
Where » Broadway Centre Cinemas.
When » Opens Friday, Aug. 22.
Rating » R for some language, sexual references and drug use.
Running time » 95 minutes.