'And the Winner Isn't': Film Review
Roger Moore's son Geoffrey Moore, an amateur songwriter, tries to get an Oscar for best original song in Nik Panic's winking documentary.
An ill-conceived effort to promote a "We Are the World"-style charity song leads to an even dicier film project in And the Winner Isn't, Nic Panic's documentary starring Geoffrey Moore, aging son of the late actor Roger Moore. An amateur songwriter who hopes to attract celebrities to appear in a video for his tune, Moore brings his daughter to Los Angeles and grows weirdly (which is not to say entertainingly) obsessed with earning an Oscar nomination for the ditty. The title is hardly a spoiler for this film, whose occasional small flashes of self-mockery will be little enticement at the box office.
Moore, who wears blue sunglasses through almost the whole film, comes across as a child of privilege who never got around to doing anything with the advantages life handed him. Now, he has decided to bestow his limited gifts on the world of charity. Though he never says a word onscreen about the global tragedies he hopes his donation will help address, he presumably knows some exist. His dad was one of UNICEF's earliest celebrity "goodwill ambassadors," and Moore seems to think that's roughly the equivalent of being Mother Theresa; hence, the tune will benefit UNICEF. (The film never confirms it, but presumably that's why the song is titled "UNI," which is pronounced "You & I.")
While daughter Ambra is busy calling managers, publicists and the like in the hopes of getting celebrities on board — even just to lip-sync a line of the already recorded song — Moore is working on getting the song an Oscar nomination. Such a thing, of course, would require for the song to be in a movie — hence the creation of this entirely self-conscious documentary. He putters around L.A. in his Mercedes, having meetings in which he seeks advice about getting an Oscar from some of the last showbiz people who would know. (No disrespect to character actor Jeff Fahey, but when he's your most famous advisor on this subject, it's time to give up.)
Assuming the film's narrative hews with some accuracy to the chronology of Moore's project, he only connects with familiar faces after the death of his father in May. Paying their respects, old co-stars including Joan Collins and Stefanie Powers sit down to discuss the old days. Moore breaks out some home movies of celeb-heavy house parties and reminisces about "the lunches with Elton," "Dickie Attenborough" and a "very generous" Frank Sinatra. What all this has to do with UNICEF is anybody's guess.
Things get tedious as the filmmakers reach the end of their money and have to pack it all up without getting any celebrities on their record other than Glee's Naya Rivera. In a coda just before the credits, we see snippets in which more famous people, including J.J. Abrams and Liam Neeson, take a few seconds to mouth the song's insipid lyrics for the camera. How is it possible that the stories of meeting up with these members of Hollywood royalty were considered less screen-worthy than, say, the sit-down the filmmakers eventually got with George Lazenby?
Production company: And the Winner Isn't Production
Director-director of photography: Nik Panic
Screenwriters: Nik Panic, Geoffrey Moore
Producers: Geoffrey Moore, Ambra Moore, Nik Panic, Chiara Geronzi
Executive producers: Alan Howard, Michael de Picciotto, Diana D'Hendecourt, Frafic Said, Katerina Thermiotis, Laurent-Paul Robert
Editor: Nick Price