Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Rules Stay The Same When You Play The Game

Family comedies rarely give the entire family something to laugh at, but when they come along they are a joy to watch, some have a little bit more of an adult theme and shouldn't be watched by the very young, such is the case with "Play The Game" a very good family movie that will have you laughing. The jokes tend to side on the more adult level but they are not overtly sexual or gross. Written and directed by Marc Fienberg Play The Game tells the story of a ladies man brought to his knees by love.

David Mitchell (Paul Campbell) is a ladies man who has a few problems he is trying very hard to avoid, namely he doesn't get along with his father, Dick (Clint Howard) who has turned his back on his own father, Joe (Andy Griffith). David has bought and paid for a retirement home for grandpa Joe and tries to see him as often as he can. David tells Joe that he has to get out and enjoy what is left of his life. Joe joins David and his friend Rob (Geoffrey Owens) for a boys night out. David shows Grandpa Joe how the game is played. Picking up a girl in the bar seems easy for David and it so impresses Grandpa Joe that he decides he is going to try it out back at the retirement house.

Joe meets a few woman and takes them out, he doesn't meet the one woman that he wants to spend the rest of his life with until he meets Rose (Doris Roberts), the only problem is that Rose is dating another man. David in the mean time has met his match in Julie Larabee (Marla Sokoloff), David meets Julie one day on the football field where Rob has goaded him into playing, David is so taken with Julie that he starts to hang outside her building, even bribing her doorman to get information about her daily routine. Of course both Joe and David find that life is harder when you try to hard and Joe at least decides to try things his way and meets Edna Gordon (Liz Sheridan) while David pretends that a friendship with Julie is enough for him. David drives Rob and his wife Carrie (Juliette Jeffers) crazy with his problem.

Joe finds out that life may be better when you are ready for it to change and David finds out that be honest can bring him his dreams. Both guys end up with the woman of their dreams but the journey is long and that is what makes this movie one of the better love stories to come out in a long time. The story moves at a pace that feels right, one story is that the movie is based on the life of the Grandfather of director Marc Fienberg. That this movie may be a tribute to a man who influenced his life is a great thing to do, and along the way Marc gives us a shining example of what it takes to truly be happy.

I give Play The Game a 3 and on my avoidance scale a 0. Sometimes simpler is better, and Play The Game gives us a simple story about moving forward and meeting the person who will most influence your life. The cast plays so well off of each other that it's hard to believe that none of them have acted together before, the movies little jokes will keep a smile on your face, and the jokes of the dirtier variety will have you laughing out loud. It is a shame that a movie this good won't find a big audience, Play The Game has no graphic nudity or violence so the younger crowd won't go see it and it is being released among some of the late summer blockbusters, so it may be missed by the older audience as well. If you find this movie playing my recommendation is that you not only run out to see it but take the one person in your life that you can't live without.

Play The Game is rated PG-13 for Sexual Content and Language
Running time 1 hr. 45 mins.

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