Leisure Seeker, D
Rated R, 110 minutes
Road trips are supposed to fun and come with a sense of wonder, both of which are lacking in the joyless road trip dramedy "Leisure Seeker," which tries to balance life and death but ends up wasting two screen legends. Badly written and directed, it plays Alzheimer's for laughs, if that gives you an idea of what this is like.
Traveling in their family Leisure Seeker vintage recreational vehicle, John and Ella Spencer (Donald Sutherland and Oscar-winner Helen Mirren) take one last road trip from Boston to the Hemingway House in the Florida Keys before his Alzheimer's and her cancer can catch up with them.
The bland "Leisure Seeker" is an unpleasant, off-putting ride, which is unfortunate given the inspired leads, who do their best to try to make this material work but can't save it. On that note, the Mirren-Sutherland teaming is the only worthy thing about the film, easily one of the worst films for both actors and one they'd likely rather forget. "Seeker" is directed and co-written by Italian filmmaker Paolo Virzi and based on the considerably better best-selling 2009 novel of the same name by Michael Zadoorian, yet Virzi isn't a good fit for the subject matter or the actors.
Mirren's talky Southern belle and Sutherland's distinguished professor are hampered by the predictable plotting and the uneven tone that can't determine if it sympathizes with its characters or wants to make fun of them. All the memory loss jokes at John's expense - and there are a lot of them here - are in bad taste, and if you've ever had a personal connection with this disease, you know it's anything but a laughing matter. It doesn't help when Mirren's character repeatedly screams at him in frustration, "don't you remember?" seemingly inconsistent given her character's own shortcomings.
There are a few sweet moments, mainly when they sit in RV's parks flipping through slides of their past, as Ella desperately tries to help her husband remember better times, but those are few and far between. There are many elements in "Leisure Seeker" that are just unnecessary, such as the timeframe used, a former boyfriend of Ella's and a Trump campaign rally, none of which add value; its ending is also one of the most depressing seen in recent memory.
I'd like to place a Silver Alert. Two cinema legends have escaped in a 1970's RV and they're looking for a good movie to act in. Can you help them find it, because the forgettable one they're in, "Leisure Seeker," isn't it. Skip it and take your own road trip.