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Old Goats: Film Review

The Bottom Line

Intriguing non-pro actors are badly served by a half-baked film.

Opens:

Friday, January 17 (Music Box Films)

Cast:

Britton Crosley, Bob Burkholder, David VanderWal, Gail Shackel, Benita Staadecker

Director-Screenwriter-Director of Photography-Editor:

Taylor Guterson

Three Seattle senior citizens play lightly fictionalized versions of themselves in Taylor Guterson's microbudget debut.

Three older non-pro actors portray versions of themselves in Taylor Guterson's Old Goats. But where such casting often results in uncommonly authentic-feeling screen characters, Guterson's film paints in overly broad strokes, seeking to boost its entertainment quotient by (one presumes, and hopes) exaggerating the cast's flaws and foibles, stopping just short of mocking some of them outright. Specialty bookings might find a few oldsters who appreciate the film's embrace of unglamorous material, but most viewers will find the movie's promise unfulfilled.

Three disparate Seattle retirees -- Britt, Bob and Dave, all characters named for the men who play them -- become friends after meeting at a senior fitness class and a loose-knit "Men's Oatmeal Club." Dave is the society-conscious former finance professional, Bob the lady-killer and globe-trotting veteran, Britt the schlub who lives on a boat but has never been out of state.

We meet them as Britt gives a presentation on a sailing trip he has planned to Hawaii and onward to Japan or the Philippines -- a pipe dream that is scuttled the next morning, when Britt had planned to set sail. Sitting in his trash-filled craft wearing a repulsive undershirt, the man is clearly the film's ordained object of pity, and actor Britton Crosley struggles throughout the film to lend a credible sense of longing and soulfulness to interactions few viewers will buy: After his new buddies have set up the technophobic bachelor with a computer and cell phone, he meets a well-to-do widow (Benita Staadecker) online who takes an inexplicable shine to him, but Britt can hardly even register this good fortune, much less embrace it.

Meanwhile, Bob is vanity-publishing a memoir, the dark content of which is alluded to but never explained; Dave is hiding his new friends from his unconvincingly uptight wife (Crystal VanderWal) while she badgers him to move to Palm Springs. There's more than enough plot here for a film, but Guterson isn't enough of a screenwriter to put the pieces together.

Amiable amateurishness prevails here, especially in the sound and music departments, but never makes the film a chore to watch.

Production Company: Gutay Films
Cast: Britton Crosley, Bob Burkholder, David VanderWal, Gail Shackel, Benita Staadecker
Director-Screenwriter-Director of photography-Editor: Taylor Guterson
Producers: Taylor Guterson, Johnathan Boyer
Executive producers: David Skinner, Tom Gorai
No rating, 94 minutes