27 June 2004 | Zantara Xenophobe
Wonderful Ensemble Cast!
I was lucky enough to learn that this Canadian-made movie was going to air on a local station a few months back. After watching it, I am glad I make sure I check out what that station airs in the earliest hours of the morning. `Never Too Late' features a cast of veteran actors, a rare thing in these modern times when our older stars are often ignored. The four leads are Jan Rubes, Olympia Dukakis, Cloris Leachman, and Jean Lapointe as retirees. They get together to play cards and talk about good old days, and Dukakis is the newest member of the group following the death of the other three's friend. Jan Rubes is hard-nosed, cranky, and stubborn, resisting the presence of Dukakis. She, on the other hand, is stubborn too, and gives him guff to the point where Rubes is speechless. These are the films best moments, giving too good actors a chance to really show emotion. I could tell that Rubes' character was not one that was used to being talked back to. Of course, all their bickering means that they really like each other and have no other way of expressing it. Seeing this develop is a real treat.
The main plot of the movie involves a local retirement home that Lapointe is living in. It is run by a shady Matt Craven, who the group believes to be embezzling the money the residents are paying him. After a rather bad confrontation with Craven, Lapointe has a stroke and is hospitalized. The others, smelling something funny, wants to stop Craven from leaving the country with all the people's money. To do this they send in Dukakis as a decoy, pretending that she is filthy rich to keep Craven around until he makes a move on her phantom money. This ploy, while sometimes confusing (it was hard to understand the computer aspect of Craven's fraudulent scheme), is a delight.
One of the reasons I saw this film is because Corey Haim, who I have always liked, has a part in it. He plays Rubes' grandson, aspiring to be an actor. Rubes is disgusted by Haim, who can only get work in a very seedy play. When Haim invites the old folks to the play, it is a sight to behold. I was laughing hard. For the rest of the movie, I was laughing at what I was supposed to be laughing at and grinning at everything else. This is a good movie that sadly will not be seen by many. It gives a great ensemble cast a chance to really show people what they can do. Lets hope these actors are given more chances before they are no longer with us. It's never too late to try. Zantara's score: 7 out of 10.