Review: Carl Reiner and his nonagenarian friends enliven inspiring doc ‘If You’re Not In the Obit, Eat Breakfast’


If only every inspirational documentary could be as delightfully diverting as “If You’re Not In the Obit, Eat Breakfast,” a lively exploration of the pronounced vitality shared by 95-year-old Carl Reiner and his many nonagenarian cohorts who still greet each morning raring to go.

Encouragingly, director Danny Gold found no shortage of examples in this endearing profile, among them Mel Brooks (90), Norman Lear (94), Betty White (95), Dick Van Dyke (91), Tony Bennett (crooning “The Best Is Yet to Come” at 90), Stan Lee (94) and Kirk Douglas, affectingly interviewed by Reiner just prior to his 100th birthday.

Good genes aside, it’s readily apparent that these folks thrive on camaraderie and the love of a good laugh.


The title, which refers to the occasion Reiner — a prolific tweeter who has written five books since entering into his ninth decade — opened the L.A. Times in 2014 only to discover a prominent archival photo of himself alongside the just-departed Polly Bergen.

“I wished they hadn’t picked a picture that scared the … out of me!” quips Reiner, who needed to pinch himself for reassurance.

While Gold also calls on relative youngsters to weigh in, like Jerry Seinfeld, truth is he could have spent the entire time just having longtime buddies Reiner, Brooks and Lear sitting around schmoozing — and it would never get old.


‘If You’re Not In the Obit, Eat Breakfast’

Not rated

Running time: 1 hour, 26 minutes

Playing: Laemmle Monica Film Center, Santa Monica; premieres June 5 on HBO.

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