By Ashley Hillard
Andy Griffith climbs into bed with a couple famous TV mothers in this flimsy but fun take on senior dating. Griffith is cast as Grandpa Joe, based on director/writer/producer Marc Fienbergâ€™s own grandfather. After becoming a widower, Grandpa Joe seeks the advice of grandson David Mitchell (Paul Campbell) and the two trade secrets to finding love.
Grandpa Joeâ€™s main squeezes are played by Doris Roberts (”Everybody Loves Raymond”) and Liz Sheridan (”Seinfeld”). Also, Griffith is reunited with one of the Howard boys, Clint, who plays Davidâ€™s father Dick. Itâ€™s quite a cast of older comedians that could have been put to use much better than they were.
Yes, seniors having sex can be awkward and comical but to pair sex scenes making fun of senior sex with the seniors acting like morons outside of the bedroom does a disservice to the movieâ€™s message of finding love at any age. The older cast members are hard to take seriously when they appear to be unaware of how to function in modern society, often acting more like children than adults. Is that how society views the elderly? Kids in wrinkly bodies? The movie could have held onto its humor without degrading the senior characters.
Another story issue is Davidâ€™s own pursuit of love with Julie Larabee (Marla Sokoloff). It takes every theory from every womanâ€™s guide-to-dating book and scrambles it into a sad example of how to pursue a relationship. Both David and Julie end up tricking each other to fall for the other one. Their relationship serves as an example of how unrealistic many movies make the dating game appear.
There is definitely a market for love stories catering to seniors, but films that respect their target audience may fair better with older adults. A different spin on the dating game would have given this film a fresh spin, instead of sticking to theories that leave women doing all the work in pursuing relationships. Overall, youâ€™d be better off reading ”Heâ€™s Just Not That Into You” than watching ”Play The Game”.