Danny Collins (2015) Review

Rating: R
Starring: Al Pacino, Jennifer Garner, Christopher Plummer, Bobby Cannavale, Annette Bening

Danny Collins stars Al Pacino as a washed up musician in one of his better roles/performances in the 2000 years, which I don't know if that is saying much cause reading 2000 - 2015 on his imdb page is full of stinkers (88 minutes, Gigli, Jack and Jill). Although I don't ever totally buy Pacino as the kind of guy who has a voice that makes him this amazing recognizable talent that sells out concerts and has volumes of greatest hits as he is portrayed in the movie but his charisma, charm, wild attire, and vices of a fallen Pop idol suit the very old looking Pacino in this film like a glove. Pacino plays a sort of Neil Diamond/Elton John hybrid and even the one song by him we hear in the film "Hey Baby Doll" sounds like an alternate universe version of "Sweet Caroline." What the film does have going for it is a great supporting cast: Annette Bening might be the best part of the film, Christopher Plummer is likable as always, and Jennifer Garner and Bobby Cannavale play a good, loving married couple from Jersey with family ties to Danny.

This kind of comedy-drama is perfect for the 50 and up crowd. I told my mom about the film and she wanted to see it based on the cast alone. It is over the top sentimental and tries to too hard to be funny sometimes but it does have an irresistible charm to it that will keep you glued to the screen even though I felt like the film tried to pack in way too much melodrama for one film. One big irk of mine is that Cannavale and Garner's cute daughter is diagnosed with ADHD and the way everyone talks about it in the film you might think she is in a wheelchair and has down syndrome.


The movie of course follows cliches of family reconciliation and redemption through new romance, new creativity etc. and the movie pretty much follows the formula for this type of film but thankfully it doesn't always wrap things up in too tidy of a bow for its audience. Scenes between Pacino and Bening and Pacino and Cannavale are the best of the film and it actually has a pretty nice ending scene, but scenes with massive cocaine usage, a parking attendant played by Josh Peck (poor man's Miles Teller), and Danny's estranged family accepting him very quickly after hating him all felt out of place to me, especially after Pacino is told that he "Can't buy redemption" and pretty much does. The film's catalyst is of course a long-lost letter written by John Lennon to Danny Collins that sets the film in motion but almost could have been anything because it ultimately becomes just a prop instead of a life-altering message it starts off as.

The film is the directorial debut of writer Dan Fogelman (Crazy, Stupid Love, The Guilt Trip, Last Vegas) and just by those credits alone you'll see what you are getting into. Some bittersweet adult romance and some raunchy sex jokes, and some cheap but somewhat satisfying sentimentality at the end. Highly Recommended for the AARP age crowd.