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'Land Ho!' is full of laughs

Aug. 13, 2014 at 11:21 a.m.


LAND HO! (2014)

• CAST: Paul Eenhoorn, Earl Lynn Nelson, Karrie Crouse, Elizabeth McKee, Alice Olivia Clarke, Emmsje Gauti

• DIRECTORS: Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz

• *Opens Friday Aug. 15 at Sundance Cinema (Houston) and Violet Crown Cinema (Austin), Arbor Cinema @ Great Hills (Austin), and Aug. 29 at Bijou Cinema Bistro (San Antonio)

The picturesque Icelandic landscape serves as the backdrop for this delightful road trip buddy movie featuring a pair of 60-year-old ex-brothers-in-law named Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn), who are on a mission to "get their groove back."

When Colin's wife passed away and Mitch's wife divorced him, these two close friends and brothers-in-law drifted apart.

Now after many years, they reunite. And retired surgeon Mitch informs Colin that he's purchased first-class tickets to Iceland, and he's footing the bill for their little adventure.

A reserved Colin hesitates at first, but he's convinced by his loud and rambunctious friend Mitch to go for it.

Like the "Odd Couple's" Felix and Oscar or "Beavis and Butt-head," these two actors are great together and naturally funny, as their contrasting personalities play well off each other.

Mitch has no problem dropping c-words and p-words when he's talking about sex or whipping out a joint. And although Colin may get embarrassed at times, his poised behavior indicates he's not shocked by his good friend.

When the two are not in their rented Hummer conquering the landscape, they're taking in an art show, enjoying a fine meal or hanging out at a disco with Mitch's young cousin, Ellen (Karrie Crouse), and her friend, Janet (Elizabeth McKee).

Ellen and Janet are recent grad students who just happened to be in the country.

There's a funny scene in which a young drunk guy in the club tells Mitch and Colin they look "old and dusty, like the Rolling Stones in 30 years" and then gives them a bunch of glow sticks.

He's played by Emmsje Gauti, a famous Icelandic rapper and radio DJ who was working as a bartender when the film crew snagged him for the role.

The land of fire and ice is beautifully captured by director of photography Andrew Reed, who encapsulates the majestic glaciers and mist-rising natural hot springs and the colorful capital city of Reykjavik. The film could actually serve as a travel guide for this breathtaking Nordic country.

Sincere performances from actors Eenhoorn and Nelson combined with a good script and magnificent scenery make for good times at the cinema.

I also enjoyed the soundtrack featuring Big Country's '80s hit "In A Big Country" - nice.

Rating: 3 1/2 stars

Joe Friar is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Houston Film Critics Society and juror at the Victoria Independent Film Festival. He reviews films every Friday on Hit Radio 104.7 KVIC. Contact Joe at jfriar95@gmail.com.

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