Wild Oats

Year: 2016
Production Co: Wild Pictures
Director: Andy Tennant
Writer: Claudia Myers/Gary Kanew
Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Lange, Billy Connoly, Demi Moore

Watching two elder stateswomen of the silver screen should be a far more enjoyable experience than this. Instead of the life-affirming drama with dashes of bittersweet laughter it looks like on the tin, it's a fairly stupid caper comedy where everyone from stars Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange on down just looked like they were slumming it.

We meet lifelong friends Eva (MacLaine) and Maddie (Lange) at a funeral, Maddie crying near-hysterically. Turns out it's actually Eva's husband who's passed away, and she's holding it together better than anybody despite Maddie's theatrics and her daughter Crystal (Demi Moore) trying to sell her house out from under her before the wake is barely over.

When the payment shows up from her husband's life insurance policy and it's for five million instead of the actual sum insured of fifty thousand thanks to a clerical error, Maddie talks Eva into taking the money and enjoying herself after a lifetime of frugality and they set off to Europe to spend like there's no tomorrow.

Meanwhile a meek and mild insurance assessor is sent after them and in between an elderly and charming lothario who seems to be losing his mind as he woos Eva (a surprisingly stiff and unengaging Billy Connolly), Maddie sowing the wild oats of the title with a much younger man and a run in with a local drug dealer and his feisty wife, it all descends into something more suited to a Keystone Kops adventure.

It's nice to see Lange and MacLaine banter and zing off each other, but the script doesn't trust them enough to carry the film with their innate charm and it goes in too many ridiculous directions for its own good.

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