I guess it says something about my age when Billy Crystal, who starred in one of the most famous romantic comedies of my time, is now playing characters in early stages of dementia. But star power is still power, and he commands the screen in ‘Here Today,’ which he also wrote and directed.
And it’s an old-fashioned kind of movie, like the ones they probably do not make anymore. First of all, it stars and is about adults, and adult issues. Crystal is Charlie Bernz, a consultant/writer in a Saturday Night Live type of show. He’s been there since be the beginning, and knows the ins and outs of writing for it. He lost his wife a while back, and his kids do not know his deteriorating health conditions.
He then meets Emma, played by Tiffany Haddish. Their relation ship has all the conceits of a romantic comedy, but they aren’t really a pair. Later on, when hid doctor asks them what their relation ship is, they both shrug. Maybe because Crystal and Haddish have an easy breezy chemistry that we think they are more (or less) what they are to each other. What matters is they characters both care about each other.
This is quite a touching movie, especially if you are a certain age, but it’s also all over the place. The work scenes at the show aren’t really interesting, and the movie only works when Crystal and Haddish have scenes together. Props to the latter for giving us close to real character even if it is underwritten – you can see she is a real move star with her magnetic presence. But thsi is Crystal’s vehicle through and through. If he stops making movies, and I hope not, this would be a great swan song.