Review: Jeremy Irons is all in for the road comedy ‘An Actor Prepares’


“My Favorite Year” meets “Nebraska” in “An Actor Prepares,” a comedic road movie that doesn’t take any fresh detours from its well-traveled route despite the presence of a very game Jeremy Irons.

He does Peter O’Toole proud as Atticus Smith, a hard-drinking actor whose unrepentant womanizing ways would make him a prime target of the #MeToo movement had the film been shot more recently than 2017 (with a billboard promoting Louis C.K. shown prominently perched over the Sunset Strip).

A former awards winner who now settles for lesser fare (like the detective-dog buddy movie “Cops & Slobbers”), Atticus suffers a heart attack ahead of the wedding of daughter Annabelle (Mamie Gummer), forcing him to drive cross-country with his long-estranged son, Adam (Jack Huston).


It’s a given that by the time they reach their destination the dramatically different duo will arrive at the realization that they aren’t polar opposites after all, but one keeps hoping director Steve Clark, who penned the script with Thomas Moffett, would plot a few unexpected turns along the way.

Irons nevertheless plays the heck out of his self-absorbed character, tossing off quips like those regarding his heart condition (“It’s like being shot in the chest with a fat person”), with mock-dramatic precision.

Although Huston (Angelica’s nephew) and Gummer (Meryl Streep’s daughter) are confined to more reactive roles, reflecting the family dynamic theme in the casting was a nice touch.


‘An Actor Prepares’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 37 minutes

Playing: Starts Friday, Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills