It’s a tired joke in Hollywood that William Shatner’s acting skills aren’t exactly up to Laurence Olivier standards. But like Olivier, something really needs to be said about the Star Trek legend’s longevity, both onscreen and off. At the incredible age of 90, with a filmography now spanning eight (yes, eight) decades, Shatner has comfortably settled into a career where he seldom headlines less than three projects a year, and gifts them all with an unwavering wit and energy that’s still indistinguishable from the man he was 20 years ago. How fitting then, in Senior Moment, that the Shat stars as a spry 72-year-old.
On the roads of the idyllic Palm Springs, former hotshot pilot Victor (Shatner) loses his pride and joy – his vintage Porsche convertible. A drag racing episode with friend Sal (Christopher Lloyd) has revoked Victor of his car and licence, relegating him to taking the bus alongside the frail seniors who contrast so much with his youthful heart. (“Buses are for old people!” he defiantly exclaims – his attitude isn’t ironic as it is warranted, but humorous all the same). On one bus journey he meets the bohemian cafe-owner Caroline (Jean Smart) and promptly begins a relationship with her, leading to some typical romcom shenanigans but missing plenty more.
The film is a lightweight whichever way one looks at it, although this is hardly a crushing disappointment. From the bland cover versions of famous pop songs (opening with a tinny rendition of Shocking Blue’s Venus) to the thin and frothy plot, there isn’t much to get excited or irritated over. Some unique observations are raised about the triviality of ageing but the script is mild on all fronts. Things are set up, things are paid off, but the movie never aims high and so never achieves much. It’s Shatner who steals, or, rather, owns the show here, proving his comedic worth as he plays up Victor’s naivety and insecurity, notably in a too-short dream sequence involving mobility scooters. Historically, Shatner hasn’t been the type to play characters this self-deprecating, but, given his apparent knack for it, here’s hoping this won’t be the last comedic effort in his remarkable career.
Senior Moment is released digitally on demand on 28th June 2021.
Watch the trailer for Senior Moment here: