Danny Collins Hums Along With an Abundance of Charm.

Danny Collins.
Director: Dan Fogelman.
Writer: Dan Fogelman.
Actors: Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Canavale, Christopher Plummer.
Opens at: Angelika Dallas.

Kids, brace yourselves: Danny Collins is probably going to be your mom’s (and grandma’s) new favorite movie. But you'll probably like it, too: Only the most jaded hipster would be immune to the considerable charm of this R-rated but somehow family-friendly movie.

Here, Al Pacino plays the titular crooner, a man who's grown tired of singing the same old songs for the same, increasingly old audience. His character is a mix of several rock stars, but the most obvious inspiration Rod Stewart, who’s made nothing but dreadful covers of standards for most of the last decade.

Eager to reclaim his songwriting mojo, he flies to New Jersey to hole up in a hotel (a modest Hilton compared with the palatial mansion he owned in L.A.) and churn out some new material. His inspiration comes from two places: 1) a previously unseen letter to him from John Lennon, and 2) a desire to connect with his estranged son (Bobby Canavale).

Danny Collins keeps humming along thanks to an exceptional amount of warmth and charm. Yes, there’s a precocious kid (Giselle Eisenberg as Danny’s granddaughter, Hope). Yes, there’s a very wholesome courting of a woman closer to Danny’s age (Annette Bening, playing the hotel manager).

But there's one thing that’s a bit hard to reconcile: Danny Collins, the character, couldn't exist in real life. His abundant generosity to everyone he meets doesn't jibe with the fact that he's addicted to cocaine and alcohol. Addicts are looking for a fix, not genuinely trying to improve the lives of their friends and family. While a transformation from bitter son-of-a-bitch to warm-hearted grandpa would have been a tad cliché, it would have been a little easier to believe. The movie can't have it both ways.

Still, there’s lots of genuine delight to be had, especially with a cast this strong. Jennifer Garner, lovely as always, hits all the right notes (no pun intended) as Danny’s daughter-in-law. And Christopher Plummer is great as usual, playing Danny’s mostly carefree manager.

Even when the film falls out of its depth with emotional subplots — like threats of suicide and a cancer diagnosis — it's still completely engaging. Pacino, who hasn't made a good movie in more than a decade, is on his A-game again. As is the case with every character in the film, resisting Danny Collins' charm is futile.

Grade: B+.

6797_2

6797_3

6797_4

6797_5

6797_6

6797_7

6797_8

6797_9

6797_10

6797_11

6797_12

6797_13

6797_14

6797_15

6797_16

6797_17

6797_18

6797_19

6797_20

6797_21

6797_22

6797_23

6797_24

6797_25

6797_26

6797_27

6797_28

6797_29

6797_30

6797_31

6797_32

6797_33

6797_34

6797_35

6797_36

6797_37

6797_38

6797_39

6797_40

6797_41

6797_42

6797_43

6797_44

6797_45

6797_46

6797_47

6797_48

6797_49

6797_50

No more articles
X