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Monday, May 24, 2010


A crowd-pleasing farewell acting turn for Clint Eastwood as a tough-shelled, rust-belt widower who never left the old neighborhood. His tidy little house is now all but surrounded by Asian immigrants (largely Vietnamese) and, long retired from his production-line job @ Ford Motors, as well as casually estranged from his family, he has little to do but talk to his old dog, maintain his property and mutter vile deprecations or simply snarl at the ‘savages’ next door. Yet, it's winning, even hilarious stuff. Nick Schenk’s savvy, politically incorrect script may be formulaic (Clint gradually finds a surrogate family right next door & saves them from a local gang), but the fun is in how well they split Clint’s personality between a senior citizen Dirty Harry (bowed, but unmellowed) and the misanthropic comedy & world view of a W. C. Fields. Of course, he can now make use of all those cuss words once forbidden to the great curmudgeon, but listen to just how often Clint substitutes some euphonious euphemism. (Don’t feel too bad for the immigrants since they appear to give as good as they get in untranslated slurs.) Even his nicknames are appallingly funny ethnic insults, with a none-too-gentle razz attached to them. Best is a cute girl he picks out as date material for the boy next door. She’s Youa, but Clint insists on calling her Yum-Yum. The film is no more than a sentimental fable, but it’s awfully well put together and, just like any proper farewell tour, the star comes back to warble a final tune.

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