Best sellers: Michael Caine and Aubrey Plaza do just enough in predictable drama


Aubrey Plaza and Michael Caine are doing just enough in their light and predictable new film.

When Michael Caine was on a promotional tour for Best Sellers, he gave an interview to The Guardian in which he said this film was probably his last.

He cited his age, his backbone, a lack of roles and his burgeoning career as a writer.

Within days, Caine withdrew the suggestion that he had called him (maybe Christopher Nolan will write a role for Caine in his next Oppenheimer film). At the very least, the backflip at least gives audiences hope that Caine won’t end his nearly seven-decade career with average American drama.

Bestsellers is a thin, mostly forgettable and harmless film with two acceptable leads to Caine and Aubrey Plaza, but it’s not worthy of being the cornerstone of Caine.

When Robert Redford retired (more or less he later said “you never know”) his last role was in David Lowery’s melancholy and low-key heist film. The old man and the gun, who transformed Redford’s easy-going charm as a serial bank robber.

This is the kind of role Caine should play, something that has been suited to his talents. Its role in Bestsellers could have been played by a dozen others.

Yes Bestsellers, directed by Lina Roessler, doesn’t have to carry the burden of the final role of Caine, so it’s a mildly fun drama that’s punctuated with poignant moments and cranky humor.

Caine plays Harris Shaw, an author who wrote an award-winning novel 40 years earlier and who has since been a cantankerous, drinking recluse who tends to throw his rotary phone out the window with one hand while the other holds his cigar. .

In New York City, Lucy (Plaza) watches the barrel of scathing reviews and negligible sales for the latest young adult book published by the publishing house she inherited from her father. She feels insufficient in the shadow of her literary heritage.

Suddenly desperate to avoid a sale to vulture Jack (Scott Speedman), Lucy and her assistant Rachel (Ellen Wong) discover a decades-old contract with Harris, which states that he owes them a book for the advance of $ 25,000 he was paid before.

Lucy forces Harris to honor his contract and he gives them a manuscript on the condition that he tour the book if no one changes his book.

But a book tour with a reluctant participant, even a Pulitzer Prize winner, is hard work – leading him from bar to bar to crowds of tongue-in-cheek hipsters who come for the social posts and not for the printed word.

The conflict between the two leads to some startling emotional revelations and, as you might expect, Lucy and Harris’ relationship begins to thaw, as they come to terms with each other’s pain.

Bestsellers is a light, predictable drama that telegraphs its fictional rhythms, but Plaza and Caine do just enough to turn two obnoxious, pungent characters into ones you can stick with for a few hours.

Evaluation: 3/5

The best sellers are now in theaters

Share your film and TV obsessions | @wenleima

Read related topics:What to watch