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Movie review: ‘Unfinished Song’

Posted 12:13am on Friday, Jun. 28, 2013

PG-13 (sexual references, rude gestures); 93 min.

Unfinished Song is a cute British senior-singers dramedy all too obviously inspired by the 2007 documentary Young@Heart. Round up some adorable retirees — Old Age Pensioners, or O.A.P.’s, the Brits call them. Put them in tie-dyed T-shirts, teach them the Robot, and let them croon through Love Shack and Let’s Talk About Sex in between deaths, health crises and the like.

It’s so impish and feel-good you want to pinch its cheeks and tell it “Aren’t you precious?” Which it is.

Thank heaven for the presence of Terence Stamp, the original General Zod from Superman and one of the legends of the British screen. All this bubbliness all around him and all Stamp’s character, Arthur Harris, can do is grouse and scowl with his best villainous glare.

Arthur indulges his wife’s membership in a seniors’ chorus, the OAPZ. He stands outside and smokes while Marion (Vanessa Redgrave) sings and socializes and prepares for her big solo.

Unfinished Song is about Arthur, his put-upon mechanic son (Christopher Eccleston) and Marion’s choir director, the relentlessly upbeat Elizabeth, cheerfully played by Gemma Arterton. Everybody here has taken on the job of getting Arthur through this, no matter what he wants.

But the script is a real groaner, with contradictory character traits (loner Arthur has a group of mates he plays dominoes with) and abrupt leaps in the nature of relationships. The dialogue could have withstood a snarky going-over, too. If you’re going cute and cranky, the insults and zingers should be zippier.

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