Playwright Israel Horovitz (“Park Your Car In Harvard Yard”), a longtime collaborator with Al Pacino on stage and as a screenwriter (“Author, Author”), makes his feature directorial debut at the age of seventy-five with the perfectly dreadful “My Old Lady.” Seventy-nine-year-0ld Maggie Smith is the center of the so-stagey adaptation of a Horovitz stage play, holding on for dear life to a Maggie Smith-style role as a woman in her nineties who occupies a Parisian apartment recently inherited by broken-down New Yorker Kevin Kline. She won’t move! The antiquated French law’s on her side! Talk-talk-talk. Talk some more. Oh! Time for a monologue? Do go on. Lethargic pacing demonstrates the clockwork character of the adaptation. Despite a few neat bouts of speechifying, it’s largely inert, the kind of clunky bunkum that’s “theatrical” in the most hands-around-the-throat fashion. You won’t want to reach for negative superlatives, only the satisfying affirmation of the remote. With Kristin Scott Thomas, Dominique Pinon (“Delicatessen”), Noémie Lvovsky. 107m. (Ray Pride)
“My Old Lady” opens Friday, September 19 at River East, Webster Place and Regal Lincolnshire.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His multimedia history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” will be published later this year.