An appalling waste of two fantastic actors, this dismal comedy putters through its worn-out storyline before reaching a predictably dull conclusion. At its best, Just Getting Started is a boring way to pass two hours. At its worst, it's downright painful. 1.5 out of 5.
For years, Duke Diver (Morgan Freeman) has been king of the Villa Capri resort community. His days are filled with sun, golf, expensive drinks, and plenty of adventurous women. Then one afternoon a stranger by the name of Leo (Tommy Lee Jones) blows into town, and Duke finds his position as Alpha Dog under serious threat. Before long, the two men are squaring off over the putting green and competing for the affections of the newly-arrived Suzie (Rene Russo). Unfortunately for Duke, his checkered past has finally started to catch up with him, and if he hopes to see another Christmas, he'll need to make a deal with the one man in Villa Capri he wants gone.
You would think a film starring iconic actors like Freeman and Jones would be able to scrape together at least a few positive qualities, but not much about Just Getting Started is worth complimenting. Freeman and Jones do have a bit of chemistry, and with the right dialogue they make an acceptable on-screen duo. A handful of jokes manage to land, but these will only garner a chuckle or two.
The main problem with Just Getting Started is that the entire movie feels lazy. The story is a patchwork narrative composed of ideas most viewers have seen before, and the movie can't even decide whether it should focus on the rivalry aspect or Duke's sordid past. Freeman and Jones both phone in their performances, and while Russo gives her role more gusto, Suzie is hardly they type of woman two men would go to war over. Even the jokes feel stale, with the two leads endlessly recycling the same gags about booze and women without a trace of enthusiasm. It all amounts to a prolonged drudgery that's about as much fun as watching paint dry. Lastly, while no animals were harmed in the making of this film, a certain dog should have been eaten by coyotes.
Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes
Duke insists that a nativity scene at Villa Capri include live camels, since the Wise Men came from the east. He also waxes on how the architects of massive cathedrals would leave a single piece of the building unfinished to remind humans that only God was perfect. Aside from these momentary musings however, neither Duke nor the other characters have any spiritual convictions. Religion plays no part in Villa Capri aside from a handful of Christmas carols.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)
- MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language, suggestive material and brief violence.
- Language/Profanity: A variety of curses, son of a b*tch, Sh*t, D*mn, F*ck, *ss, bull*hit, the Lord’s name is taken in vain, several lewd jokes about sex.
- Sexuality/Nudity: Duke has relations with several women (though nothing is shown) and the women themselves are shown to flirt shamelessly with other men; a bra is seen; a woman wears lingerie; monogamy is not followed at Villa Capri; a woman is shown in a bath with bubbles obscuring her body; Joe talks about wild sex; lots of flirting; a class on having sex is shown; people are seen in bathing suits; talk of strippers; Joe and Duke briefly visit a strip club.
- Violence/Frightening Images: Several guns are shot; a snake is zipped into a golf bag; a golf cart explodes; two men dressed as Santa fight; a woman is kidnapped; a man is shot but not killed.
Drugs/Alcohol: Several people are shown drinking beer, wine, hard liquor, mimosas.
The Bottom Line
RECOMMENDED FOR: Airline passengers, poorly behaved senior citizens, and people who have trouble sleeping.
NOT RECOMMENDED FOR: Families, small children, teenagers, people who enjoy comedies, fans of Morgan Freeman or Tommy Lee Jones, film buffs.
Just Getting Started, directed by Ron Shelton, opened in theaters December 8, 2017. It runs 90 minutes and stars Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones and Rene Russo. Watch the trailer for Just Getting Started here.
Ryan Duncan is Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com.
Publication date: December 12, 2017
Image courtesy: ©BroadGreenPictures