I enjoyed watching two of my favorite actresses icons Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange in the ditsy comedy Wild Oats. Now on DVD and Digital HD the two were perfect as the twilight of their lives characters and brought back many fond memories of films in the 50’s and 60’s for MacLaine and the 70’s and 80’s for Lange. Still going strong they make the comedy escapade work dishing out a style that filmmakers have left behind, but with Wild Oats, not forgotten.
It’s been a tough day for Eva (Shirley MacLaine) who has just left her husband’s funeral ridding with her lifelong friend Maddie (Jessica Lange) who seems to be in a crying mood. Eva knows Maddie’s upset sobbing at the graveside, but she still hasn’t calmed down. Maddie confides in her that her husband has been cheating on her with his secretary. Bummer.
At Eva’s home reception following the funeral her daughter Crystal brings up the subject of selling the house so she can live more comfortably in a smaller dwelling in Sunset Vista. Their slogan “out of sight, out of mind”, perfect. Getting more depressed since she’s behind in the mortgage payments and with the life insurance only $50,000 she halfheartedly accepts her fate.
A few days later she gets a registered letter from the insurance company with a check for $5,000,000. She gets with Maddie and they make a very daring decision to spend all the money before they can realize she got it. With check in the bank, the two best friends fly to the Canary Islands. Director Andy Tennant (Sweet Home Alabama) keeps his nice little comedy moving along at a fast pace introducing characters that are looking for Ava and some men the two women are meeting for the first time. Tennant’s film title is aptly named as what these ageing best friend do gets more complicated than just sowing their “wild oats”.
Shirley MacLaine really shows she’s still got it by giving another good performance with her knack for comedy and her sweet smile that radiates in her films. Here she’s Ava a former 10th grade history teacher whose students still recognize her and complement her as their best teacher ever. She’s also busting out of her humdrum married life that gets a boost of energy from the money. With the help of Maddie she takes a chance on spending what she feels is the twilight of her life getting pampered on an island off the coast of North West Africa. She does it up right with clothes, cocktails, gambling and the delightful romantic ocean view. There she meets a cool old gentlemen Lacy Chandler (Billy Connelly) and allows him to take advantage of her charming ways. That is until her crazy new world starts to catch up with her.
Then there’s Jessica Lange who has uplifted TV with “American Horror Story” from 2011-2015. She’s won Oscars, Golden Globes and Emmys for her work in movies like Tootsie and Blue Skys, TV’s “Streetcar Named Desire” and TV’s “American Horror Story”. Here she takes on the role of the rebuked housewife who finds herself puzzled and confused. She also reveals a health issue that has clouded her future. When Ava decides to give her half the money to live a wild life with her, she accepts. And does she know how to live? You bet, especially when she meets Chip (Jay Hayden).
Wild Oats has been rated PG-13 for sexual content.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A very cool situation comedy by two veterans of film. (B)
Specifications and additional video information:
Cast: Shirley MacLaine, Jessica Lange, Demi Moore, Billy Connelly, Howard Hesseman, Santiago Segura,
Director: Andy Tennant
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sexual content
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Running Time: 1 hr. 31 min.
Video Release Date: October 4, 2016
Original Film Release Date: September 16, 2016
Reviewed Format: DVD
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1
Video: Widescreen, Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Number of Discs: 1 Disc
Distributed by: The Weinstein Company