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Land Ho!

Movie Details

Land Ho!
  • Genre: Action/Adventure, Comedy
  • Release Date: 2014-07-11 NY/LA
  • Running Time: 94 min.
  • Directors: Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens
  • Cast: Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson, Alice Olivia Clarke, Karrie Crouse, Elizabeth McKee, Emmsje Gauti, Benjamin Kasulke, DanĂ­el Gylfason
  • Writers: Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens
  • Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
  • Official Site: Land Ho! Official Site

Land Ho! is a How Grandpa Got His Groove Back for the geezer set, a buddy road trip through Iceland, starring two divorced men with a combined age of 150 years. The writer-directors, Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, are 30 and 34, respectively, young enough to be their leading men's grandchildren but just old enough to empathize with their wrinkles. Ringleader Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) is a rich, reluctantly retired doctor who fancies himself the Joe Francis of septuagenarians. As for the polite but prickly Colin (Paul Eenhoorn), he's aware that he's merely a freeloading passenger in Mitch's mission but quickly shakes off any guilt about his companionship having been bought.

For much of its running time, Land Ho! indulges Mitch as he talks about his penis, Colin's penis, and things that look like penises, which up above the Arctic Circle encompasses lighthouses, geysers, and more. The big-talking lech hopes that he can even use his penis on his much younger cousin-once-removed, a Ph.D. student on her own vacation with a female friend. We squirm, embarrassed by Mitch's self-delusional belief that he can woo the girls by plying them with new clothes and fancy wine. But we're also not sure if Stephens and Katz will indulge his fantasies. Thankfully, they don't, and as it swats down our fears of go-get-em-gramps wish fulfillment, the film settles into an off-kilter rhythm as though it had simply unleashed Nelson and Eenhoorn in the snow to riff their conversational jazz.

In the end, that never-quite-attempted seduction, like the rest of the film, is just a gentle fizzle. Land Ho! feints toward pathos and perversity, only to decide that it's better off giving us abridged, postcard emotions.

Amy Nicholson

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