THE BOYNTON BEACH CLUB (Susan Seidelman). 105 minutes. Opens Friday (November 3). For venues and times, see Movies, page 84. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
Sorry, Desperate Housewives. You look great, but in Hollywood, women over 40 are considered past their prime. Sean Connery and Harrison Ford can still play action figures, sharing onscreen kisses with women who could be their - let's be kind - nieces.
Thankfully, director Susan Seidelman doesn't give a damn, because she's made one of the most honest films to come along in years, daringly showcasing not just golden girls Sally Kellerman, Brenda Vaccaro, Renée Taylor and Dyan Cannon getting their groove on, but decidedly unhunky actors Joseph Bologna and Len Cariou as well.
A true story based on the experiences of the director's mother, Florence Seidelman, and friend, David Cramer, the film presents a cliché-free view of bereavement and aging. Here grandmothers don't have to be cuddly. There's life after 60, and it's possible to find real happiness after a spouse's death, not through new love but rather through support of friends and newfound independence.
The pacing problems and extraneous story lines can be forgiven, but Seidelman makes one mistake that almost destroys the film: casting skeletal plastic surgery victim Cannon as its sex symbol. She can shake her size-zero booty all she wants; it's plus-sized Vaccaro, confident enough to age gracefully, who steals the film.