Grandma

Lily Tomlin plays the titular crotchety old lesbian Grandma** helping her grand daughter find $600 for an abortion. It’s faintly absurd dramatic device to add to the current slew of intergenerational mismatch comedies – Bad Grandpa, Dirty Grandpa, The Guilt Trip, The Intern…

Tomlin’s fine enough, playing once-lauded feminist poet and radical Elle Reid, but the material feels a bit thin, even if it only stretches to 80 minutes while the pair drive around LA looking for friends and enemies who might owe them some dough.

I liked Julia Garner as the grand-daughter Sage and Judy Greer as Elle’s lover. I liked some of the episodes along the road trip, particularly a scene with Sam Elliott, who’s always the Dude. I liked Marcia Gay Harden as Sage’s uptight Mom. I liked the film in theory, but it just doesn’t catch fire.

It actually feels like a debut indie feature headed for Sundance, even though it’s written and directed by Paul Weitz, who is vastly more experienced and made About A Boy. So there’s a whiff of inauthenticity about the film’s tone so somehow, even while it’s trying to be earnest about the 60s, abortion and love, it never pulls off the difficult trick of bitter-sweet lightness.

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