Movie buffs should give Hoffman a ‘Chance’

Leia Karimul Bashar

In “Last Chance Harvey,” Dustin Hoffman plays Harvey Shine, a flailing jingle writer residing in New York who attends his daughter’s wedding in London. Upon arrival, however, he finds out his daughter has chosen to have her stepfather walk her down the aisle. Completely humiliated, Shine leaves as soon as the wedding is over, skipping the reception to catch his plane on time.

Unfortunately, the plane leaves without him, and when he calls work to explain his situation, his boss refuses to take pity on him and fires him over the phone. Shine decides to go to a bar to drink and try to forget about his problems. At the bar, he meets a woman who works at the airport named Kate, played by Emma Thompson. The two hit it off, and soon they find themselves changing each other’s lives.

Like “Nights in Rodanthe,” and “Something’s Gotta Give” before it, “Last Chance Harvey” is among a growing number of romantic comedies geared toward the aging baby boomers set. Admittedly, I went into the theater expecting to be bored by the aging stars, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself sucked into the characters’ lives.

Hoffman shines in his role as an aging man who realizes it may be too late to make amends with his family, and Thompson is perfect as the acerbic Kate. Although the story itself isn’t always engaging, the chemistry between Hoffman and Thompson makes up for the flimsy script. Their characters’ witty banter is insightful and thoroughly entertaining. Overall, I think even college students will find something to like about this movie. It’s a great date movie. It’s even good if you’re alone and feeling down, and just need to see something that will make you feel warm and fuzzy all over. Thanks in large part to Hoffman and Thompson’s endeavors, “Last Chance Harvey” is a movie chock full of hope and whimsy.