See if this makes you uncomfortable: Picture Andy Griffith... lovable, huggable, grandfatherly Griffith. Next to him is Liz Sheridan you may remember her as Jerry Seinfeld's doting mother Helen on the hit series Seinfeld. The two are floating in a sea of plush pillows on top of a rounded bed. They exchange some pleasantries. Then, she goes down on him. That's right: Helen Seinfeld blows Andy Griffith. And just like that, everything you know about the world is changed.
The scene which, in fact, is much more tasteful than it sounds is part of the film Play the Game, a semi-low budget indie that screened last November at the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival. It stars Paul Campbell as David Mitchell, a self-described "player" who deigns to help his nursing home-dwelling grandfather (Griffith) overcome his paralyzing fear of re-entering the dating scene. No sooner than David starts doling out advice on how to bag women ("Step one: identify your target; step two: planned spontaneity") does he meet Julie, an intelligent bachelorette who seems to best him at every step. Between Julie's rejections and his grandfather's newfound relationship with Viagra, David finds out he's not quite the player he thought he was.
The romantic comedy may sound a little formulaic, but it actually takes a unique approach to dating and sex octogenarian or otherwise. In a culture that strips people of their sexuality after a certain age, it's refreshing (if not a little bit awkward at first) to see a film that delves into the subject matter so candidly. And it certainly lends truth to the popular theory that age is a state of mind. "I never felt like I was going to be an old man anyway. I'm too much of a goof," says Campbell of his role, "But working with Andy and seeing that he is that kind of person was great. Andy is a kid. He's just an older kid."
Catch the light-hearted romcom, which won the Audience Favorite award at FLIFF, starting Friday, when it opens for a regional run at theaters across South Florida, including various Sunrise Cinemas locations. Visit sunrisecinemas.com for ticket prices and showtimes.
Feb. 27-March 5, 2009