Review

Aging protagonists in 'Roxie' slowed by dated premise

Older protagonists in the dramedy 'Roxie' are slowed down by a dated premise

It's so rare for an American film to boast a pair of 60-year-old protagonists, you wish "Roxie" had been much better than the squirm-inducing, aging-white-male fantasy that emerges.

With a dated premise that could have been a Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau reject, the buddy dramedy involves marriage therapists David (David Usner) and Joel (Joel Roth) attending a conference in San Francisco and addressing their own neglected marriages by hiring escorts.

Imagine Fran Drescher taking Barbra Streisand's role in "The Owl and the Pussycat" and you've pretty much got the gist of Roxie (Kelly Burk), for whom the more timid Joel is instantly smitten — that is, until he makes the shocking discovery that her affection has been strictly "on the clock."

The film took root in improvisational classes taken by the leads at the Meisner Technique Studio. With little evidence of screen experience on either side of the camera, the Nick Frangione-directed film is awash in hackneyed characters and implausible situations.

Usner and Roth could be commended for fearlessly casting all vanity to the wind, but after prolonged exposure all that sagging flesh begins to feel less brave and liberating than it does creepily exhibitionist.

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"Roxie."

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.

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