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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

Griffith's laughs power "Play the Game'

Thursday, July 22, 2010

(Photo)
Andy Griffith (left) and Paul Campbell star in Marc Fienberg's 'Play the Game' from Phase 4 Films.
If you want to see Andy Griffith as you've never seen him before, check out Marc Fienberg's "Play the Game" and witness an actor who's as funny as ever and brave enough to stretch beyond the norm.

Griffith plays Grandpa Joe; a man reserved to his retirement community, two years removed from his wife's passing and spends his days waiting for his grandson to visit.

His grandson David (Paul Campbell) is a mover and shaker at the local car dealership owned by his father Dick (Clint Howard) and thinks of himself as a ladies man. The only problem is the lady of his dreams, Julie (Marla Sokoloff) , isn't falling for his charms.

Pushing his widowed grandfather back into the game, David teaches him everything he knows -- the only problem is, the techniques are gold for his grandfather and not so much for him.

As Grandpa Joe pursues Rose (Doris Roberts), who just so happens to be Julie's grandmother, he begins spending time with Edna (Liz Sheridan) and things begin to happen.

Having failed to "perform" in years, Edna slips Joe some Viagra, which results in her landing in the hospital and Grandpa Joe becoming a retirement home gigolo. Now the student has become the master.

But when the dust settles, Joe doesn't yet have his rose, and taking his grandfather's advice, David finally is able to win over Julie and everyone, for the most part, lives happily ever after.

I know I've divulged a little much in this review, but if you don't see the ending coming within the first 15 minutes of the film, you have no business watching movies in the first place.

It's a very paint-by-numbers script, but it's one that has its fair share of strong moments, but one that is hindered more by its weak links.

Griffith, at age 84, is definitely the star of the film. The veteran actor is no stranger to comedy, but you get to see an edgier side of his craft, something that was unexpected, yet welcomed. He easily steals every scene he's in.

Campbell and Sokoloff have their moments, but for the most part, it's a relationship that never really seems to work. The chemistry comes and goes, give us some heat, but ultimately leaves us cold.

As far as extras, there's the typical deleted scenes and theatrical trailer. The outtakes once again feature Griffith and his good-natured humor.

Final Cut: "Play the Game" isn't the best film on the subject, but the likeability of Griffith and the times when the script works makes the film one that deserves a watch or two.

3 out of 5 stars

Play the Game

Starring: Andy Griffith, Paul Campbell, Marla Sokoloff, Doris Roberts, Liz Sheridan, Clint Howard

Director: Marc Fienberg

Writer: Marc Fienberg

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content and language

Runtime: 1 hr. 45 min.

Available now from Phase 4 Films