Review - Matt Mungle
*Now in select theaters, opening Sept 16th at the Inwood Theater*
Synopsis: A jazz pianist makes a discovery days before the death of his wife that causes him to believe his sixty-five year marriage was a lie. He embarks on an exploration of his own past that brings him face to face with a menagerie of characters from a bygone era.
Review: Featuring the legendary Jerry Lewis in his first starring role in over two decades MAX ROSE is a well intended drama that at times misses a few beats. The story line is intriguing and the character interaction touching but it needed a tad more inspiration.
When we meet Max (Jerry Lewis) is in the wake of his wife Eva's (Claire Bloom) death. There is no doubt that his world is upside down after losing his partner of over sixty years. He is constantly flashing back to conversations and memories that let you know they were a dedicated couple in deep love. But we soon discover that Max is not so sure anymore. Not only has his wife died but he has recently found an item that shakes the foundation of their long marriage; the possibility she had another lover. The film takes us on the journey with Max to find the truth and the mystery man.
As good as it is to see the incredible Jerry Lewis on the screen again the person to watch is Kerry Bishé who plays Max's granddaughter Annie. Annie is the one stable element in Max's life and she takes responsibility for his well being and care. Theirs is a touching and meaningful relationship and the best part of the movie are the times they are on screen together.
As mentioned the story is pretty solid but at times it tends to stall out as if waiting for the next swell of intrigue. During those times the actors meander back and forth through the conversations. It is not horrible by any means nor is it something that should keep you from seeing he film. Just know that there are highs and lows to get through.
The cast is note worthy too. Kevin Pollak plays Annie's dad. There is an obvious riff in his relationship with his dad Max. There are hints dropped as to why but nothing is ever made clear. The writers wanted the tension but weren't willing to totally flesh out the details. Pollak handles the drama effectively with little trouble.
There are plenty of nods to the olden days of comedy and music. Max finds a few friends to reminisce with and these moments are sweet but very slow and at times distract from the motive of the story. But they are well acted and many may find them less of a distraction than I did.
Max Rose is not rated and has a little adult language and some mature themes. There is nothing offensive or crude. It is certainly for older audiences and for fans of Lewis it is a must see. I give it 3 out of 5 engravings. No award winner but at least Jerry returned with a sentimental film that in no way tarnishes his legacy.