An Upbeat Look at Getting Older
By Skip Sheffield
Afraid of old age? Let “Land Ho” ease those fears.
“Land Ho” is a comedy with purpose, directed by two young directors (Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens) and starring two older guys you probably have never heard of.
They are Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson), a good ol’ boy medical doctor from New Orleans and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn), an immigrant from Australia.
The two men were connected by marriage by each marrying a sister. Now they are both divorced. Colin is retired and Mitch is soon to be, as we learn later.
Mitch is an impulsive, outgoing guy who bangs on Colin’s door and announces, “I bought us two tickets to Iceland.”
“You didn’t ask me,” Colin protests. “I would have said no.”
“Why can’t I spend money on my favorite brother-in-law,” Mitch counters, settling the case.
And so the elderly chums are off for adventure in icy, rocky Iceland. As if to flaunt their status as ugly Americans, they rent one of its least politically-correct vehicles, a Hummer.
Little by little we learn about the two men. Mitch’s real name is Leslie, and he is not still practicing medicine. He was forced out.
Along the way they pick up a couple young girls- which is not what it sounds like. Ellen (Karrie Crouse) is a young cousin of Mitch’s. Ellen (Elizabeth McKee) is her friend.
The old men clearly enjoy being with a couple of babes, and Mitch lavishes them with food, drinks and new clothes. The girls in turn accompany the men to a disco. There is no hanky-panky and the girls go on their merry way.
Toward the end the chance of romance with a more age-appropriate woman comes when the man encounter a Canadian photographer named Nadine (Alice Olivia Clarke) at a hot springs park.
“Land Ho” is deliberately fashioned along the lines of a 1980s road trip movie, only with senior citizens rather than actors in their 20s and 30s. It is in fact endorsed by AARP, but the two stars don’t like to dwell on that.
“It’s also endorsed by the National Board of Review,” Early Lynn Nelson points out. “I don’t feel old.”
“This is not for retirement parties,” Paul Eenhoorn chimes in. “We’ve been getting a hell of a response from kids in their 20s at movie festivals.”
Nelson and Eenhooron have been on the road with the “Earl and Paul Show” since the movie made its acclaimed debut at Sundance Film Festival. The men admit the location shooting was difficult and challenging, but the two entirely different men have become fast friends, just as in the film. Nelson, 72, is a real-life ocular surgeon in Kentucky who still practices. Eehorn, 65, is a lifelong, Australian-born actor.
“We hope the film will appeal to the same audience that enjoyed Marigold Hotel,” says Nelson. “Although I think it might also appeal to the Pineapple Express gang.”
“They are talking about a sequel,” reveals Eenhoorn. “Maybe we could tour Australia.”