Movie reviews: 'A Short History of Decay,' 'A Night in Old Mexico'
Bryan Greenberg and Linda Lavin in “A Short History of Decay.”
A SHORT HISTORY OF DECAY — 2 stars
An aspiring writer grows up as his parents grow old (1:34). R: Language. Village East.
Michael Maren’s uneven debut dramedy opens with the gorgeous, successful Erika (Emmanuelle Chriqui) leaving her hangdog, noncommittal boyfriend, Nathan (Bryan Greenberg). She’s meant to be a villain. But Nathan, a thirtysomething Brooklynite with vague aspirations of writing, is so irritating that our sympathies drift toward her.
Single, unemployed Nathan heads to Florida to help his ailing parents. Dad (Harris Yulin) had a stroke and mom (Linda Lavin) has Alzheimer’s. Nathan learns the same lessons about growing up that so many aimless movie characters have learned before him. Anyone who can relate to his search will appreciate Maren’s gently empathetic approach, and Lavin is a treasure. But Erika is right — Nathan’s neurotic self-indulgence strains our patience.
Robert Duvall and Angie Cepeda in “A Night in Old Mexico.”
A NIGHT IN OLD MEXICO — 1 star
An old rancher’s last gallop (1:43). NR: Violence, language, sexuality. City Cinemas 1,2,3.
If there were a Lifetime Channel for Men, Emilio Aragón’s unabashedly sentimental take on old age would surely wind up there.
It’s a shame to see Robert Duvall stuck with such a cliched script. But at least the actor embraces the gruff edges of his embittered Texas rancher, Red. Rather than accept the loss of his remaining health, land and pride, Red takes his estranged grandson (miscast Brit Jeremy Irvine) to Mexico, where they encounter ill-gotten cash, gun-toting gangsters and a gold-hearted stripper (Angie Cepeda). Not a second of this feels real, but at least we see Duvall croon “Mexicali Rose.”