Here Today – Film Review
by Fran Winston
Directed by: Billy Crystal
Starring: Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish, Penn Badgley, Laura Benanti, Louisa Krause
In cinemas September 3rd
If you’ve ever seen the Little Britain sketch where David Walliams plays Dennis Waterman and insists that he will write the theme tune and sing the theme tune on every project, you will somewhat get the gist of this. Written by, produced by, directed by and starring Billy Crystal, this is pretty much a one-man show. I’m actually surprised he wasn’t also a cameraman and editor.
He plays comedy writer Charlie Burnz, who is in the early stages of dementia. When he goes to a restaurant to meet a fan who won a lunch date with him he is greeted by the force of nature that is Emma (Haddish). Her ex-boyfriend was a fan and she attended the lunch as revenge. However, the two form a bond and when she realises that he is unwell she moves in with him, much to his family’s chagrin who are unaware of his struggles.
This is a pretty standard odd-couple tale sentimentalised by the addition of Charlie’s dementia diagnosis. While Haddish and Crystal work well together the story is very weak. Also, Emma is not a likeable character. She is extremely underwritten and although Haddish does her best with the script the flaws in the character are painfully obvious. Actually, none of the characters are very well developed. This is incredibly saccharine and while Crystal takes advantage of his inside knowledge of the comedy world for scenes set in his workplace this never really feels convincing.
Despite the names attached this would have been a straight to video offering back in the day. It drags out a simple story and becomes quite tedious. It’s a very mushy and sentimental offering that doesn’t seem to know who its audience is.