"Land Ho!" is a rare gem among the less-than-dazzling list of summer films. It just may be the most enjoyable 95 minutes you've spent at a movie theater in ages.
In the opening sequence, Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) unexpectedly shows up at Colin's (Paul Eenhoorn) Kentucky home. Mitch exuberantly proclaims he's booked both of them on a first-class trip to Iceland. Colin, who's been depressed since his wife's (Mitch's ex-wife's sister) departure, isn't on board with the offer. Too bad ... in the next shot they're in Reykjavik. Mitch has a knack for getting his way.
Both in their 70s, Mitch doesn't act his age, while Colin embodies it. Pot-smoking, womanizer and epicurean, Mitch has a zest for life that is unquenchable. Colin seems to have lost his, but as time goes by, Mitch's outlook becomes infectious and Colin experiences a reawakening.
The two lovable geezers play off one another famously. Colin is the ideal straight man to Mitch's vivacious musings. Mitch's outrageous and uncensored observances verge on the vulgar at times. But you can't help cackling when he makes remarks such as, "This is so delicious it's like angels pissing on your tongue." His delivery is impeccable.
Road trip films can often take you places you wish you'd never been. Not so in "Land Ho!" This sumptuously shot and cleverly crafted piece of filmmaking is as easy on the eyes as it is touching to the heart. The writer-director team of Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens has created a movie that looks and feels so personal, it's as though you're in Iceland with Mitch and Colin. While they're in the process of "getting their groove back" we're delighted to be along.
The casting of Nelson and Eenhoorn was a brilliant maneuver. Their diametrically diverse dispositions, which eventually meld into compassionate camaraderie, translates perfectly. It's easy to believe these two are friends in real life and made such a journey.
"Land Ho!" is rife with speculations and ruminations on life, but it never takes itself too seriously. You probably won't recognize the two extremely gifted actors, but you'll never forget them. They make you feel comfortable in their well-worn shoes and, most of all, grateful for the opportunity. If you don't exit the theater with a smile on your face, consider seeking professional help.
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