Old guy comedies/road trip movies have never tickled my fancy. Grumpy Old Men with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau is mildly amusing in its 90’s like humor and The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman aged very poorly just weeks after seeing it. Writer/directors Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens deliver an average look at a pair of ex brothers-in-law that venture off on a trip through Iceland in the new indie Land Ho!.
Starring Paul Eenhoorn as the stoic and reserved Colin and Earl Lynn Nelson as the hilarious Mitch, the two older unknown actors create a funny dynamic that gathers a bunch of laughs and some interesting moments. The two seek out new realms of their lives, encountering distant family members and meeting new individuals however, it comes off as old man perversion at times which creates an uncomfortable feeling among the viewer. Nelson, who actually has some true standout moments, is relegated to being a creepy old man lusting after anything that walks. He’s shortchanged completely. Eenhoorn, who is given a back story that would have offered him an opportunity to explore and deliver an interesting character, is given the most generic and inside the box resolution to his story.
What keeps the film engaging are the attempts at comedy, which mostly land. There are jokes and occurrences that get you chuckling quite a bit. It isn’t quite enough to sustain but at least its memorable. Cinematographer Andrew Reed brings the audience to the edge of Iceland, giving us a tour of the country through the character’s perspectives. It’s the single best technical aspect of the film. When it comes to Aaron Katz’s editing, the film moves like molasses. We are eagerly awaiting the next plot point to take effect as we lay stagnant in a scene that goes a few minutes too long.
The film is a shining beacon on the surface, extremely likable on first impression however, your care and investment in the characters take a steady decline early on. I only wish the writers would have allowed these characters to go down different avenues. There’s just not a whole lot to say about this one. Land Ho! is half bland, half funny.