By John Mulderig
NEW YORK (CNS) — There’s bad, there’s awful and then there’s “Just Getting Started” (Broad Green). This dismal attempt at comedy is so epically empty that it makes the average “Porky’s” sequel seem like a scintillating masterpiece.
The desultory plot pits Duke Diver (Morgan Freeman), the old goat who manages a Palm Springs resort for retirees, against his establishment’s newest guest, 10-gallon-hat toting would-be man of mystery Leo (Tommy Lee Jones).
Though their machismo-driven competition spans the golf links, the poker table and the chess board, it ultimately aims at, but never quite reaches, the boudoirs of the past-their-prime barflies both men are fond of chasing. The arrival of Suzie (Rene Russo), a corporate executive who has been dispatched to check up on Duke’s business practices, eventually gives the rivals a new prize for which to strive.
Oh, and at the behest of mob wife Delilah (Jane Seymour), someone is trying to kill Duke.
Besides its smirking attitude toward promiscuity, writer-director Ron Shelton’s movie, in which a cast of talented headliners is criminally wasted, registers as false, flat and self-satisfied. It’s also a work of such unrelieved dullness that watching its wheels spin can at times be mesmerizing.
But not for long. The appearance of the final credits, when at last they mercifully begin to roll, feels like a reprieve from Alcatraz.
The film contains brief gunplay, sexual humor and references, a couple of uses of profanity, about a half-dozen milder oaths and at least one rough and numerous crude and crass terms. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.
Mulderig is on the staff of Catholic News Service.