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Al Pacino Rings True as Danny Collins

Al Pacino Rings True as Danny Collins

This likable movie rises or falls on Al Pacino’s ability to
convince us that he’s an aging pop star…and he does. Danny Collins follows a familiar story path, but it’s such a
pleasure to watch Pacino (and fellow cast members Christopher Plummer, Annette
Bening, Bobby Cannavale, and Jennifer Garner) that it barely matters. I’ve made
this comparison before, but this kind of movie is the cinematic equivalent of
comfort food.

Dan Fogelman (The
Guilt Trip, Last Vegas
) makes his directorial debut with a screenplay he
wrote about a Billy Joel-like singer who’s coasting on decades of fame, giving
his aging audiences exactly what they want to hear—especially his signature
song, “Baby Doll.” But when he discovers that his sexy young wife has been
cheating on him, he pauses to consider his life. On impulse, he travels to New
Jersey to look up the son he’s never known (a subdued but effective Cannavale)
and the grandson he’s never seen. He checks into a local hotel (managed by
Bening), rents a piano, and tries to recharge his musical batteries by
composing something new for the first time in years.

As each story thread is introduced you can pretty well
foresee its outcome, but Fogelman’s screenplay is straightforward, sincere, and
happily devoid of irony. If you have no moviegoing history with Al Pacino you
might not derive the same enjoyment that I did from Danny Collins…and if you crave edgy drama you’ll have to look
elsewhere, but if you’re in the mood for lightweight entertainment with an
appealing cast, this should fill the bill.

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