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Moving On Is  A Shallow But Amusing Showcase For Its Octogenarian Heroines



Rating: **

I sincerely wanted  to like Paul Weitz’s  Moving On. It features two of America’s most beloved  actresses Jane Fonda  and Lily Tomlin as long-standing friends who meet up at the funeral  of  their mutual friend  and decide to take  revenge  on  the dead friend’s husband who had wronged  Fonda or Tomlin. Keep guessing.

The  narrative harbours a harvest satirical possibilities. It  sounds off  allusions  to  hefty subjects  like  enduring friendships  and  the temporal  texture of  loyalty and  commitment.  But we soon realize that director Paul Weitz just wants to use his sparkling-at-80 cast to create  a joyous collage of  comic content .

The film is  committed to nothing more than a shallow  reunion .It’s almost like what Lily Tomlin keeps saying repeatedly: stay out of trouble. ‘Trouble’ in the  film’s context is any reference to the past.But Fonda’s  Claire is very clear  that she  wants to sort out the past.

There is  a mischievous aura to the  funereal proceedings, almost like kids  dropping in for the cake rather than the ache at the  place of mourning.

What I liked was the  crisp cutting rapport between Jane Fonda  and Lily Tomlin. The latter comes  across as  far more  effective for the very simple reason that Tomlin has all the  one-liners retorts  and quips while Jane Fonda plays  the more troubled less articulate  character.Her mumbles are mowe down.

I wish Fonda’s character had  been given a more substantial shape in the largely-silly screenplay. She comes  across  as…ummm…repressed, as compared with Tomlin. Nonetheless the co-actresses whip up a  frenzy of foamy laughter  with their droll exchanges on friendship, grieving and murder.

There is  also Richard Roundtree(once upon a time the first  Black action hero in  the Shaftseries)  who is a charming accompanist as he joins Tomlin and  Fonda on their vendetta trip.

I only wish the  storytelling was  more trippy. It all seems  very prim and propah, almost starchy if not frigid.Even  the  plan to kill the dead  woman’s  closet-evil  husband(the amazing  Malcolm McDowell  from Stanley  Kubrick’s  A  Clock Work Orange) is  inveigled by a script that  cannot make up its mind whether  it wants to enjoy some meanness , or  kill it.

If at all Moving On is worth watching it  is for the Tomlin-Fonda kinship with oscillates between  recriminations and retribution.Ultimately this  film is too slight to be  a decent vehicle  for the  talented  veteran actors,  although admittedly they seem to be having fun.

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