The basic terribleness of this film is beside the point. Everything in this film, in fact, is beside the point, save for the fact that it stars the genetic miracle of the modern age, the all-time winner of the Dorian Gray award for looking younger than your age, more impressive even than Paul Rudd … the legendary William Shatner. Shatner plays Victor Martin, a roguish old Viagra-popping womaniser who loses his driving licence after a prang. He winds up having to take the bus, where he meets-cute with a lovely lady close to his age range, cafe owner Caroline Summers, played by Jean Smart (last seen as Kate Winslet’s mum in TV’s Mare of Easttown).
We actually hear what age Shatner’s character is supposed to be: 72. Fair enough. Shatner could pass for younger. But the staggering fact is he is 90. And you can easily spend the entire film hissing to yourself as you gaze awestruck at his beaming, slightly waxy but very clear face: “Ninety! He is 90! Is it special effects? Work done? A pact with Satan?”
There is a fair bit of cringey stuff here, especially the gruesome opening scene in which Victor washes his beloved sports car and murmurs: “You’re a dirty girl … ” But it has to be said that sentimental regard for the great Starfleet captain turned admiral compels a certain amount of loyalty to this ridiculous nonsense. And, in fact, Shatner plays all the absurd comedy gamely enough, as indeed does Smart. The great Portuguese auteur Manoel de Oliveira continued making films until his late 90s. It could well be that Shatner will do the same. Why not a new Star Trek?