Charlie Berns is the senior writing advisor for the comedy sketch show called This Just In. He helps develop young writing talent and pick skits for the show. He leaves the producer’s office to fulfill an auction prize to benefit an inner-city library. Someone bought a lunch date with him for $22. As he waits at the restaurant, a woman enters with a much younger picture of Charlie on her phone. Charlie stops the woman and introduces himself. The woman is Emma, and she sings funny songs in dive bars and subways for money. Emma explains she doesn’t know who Charlie is but her ex-boyfriend bid on the lunch, and she took it to get back at him. During lunch, Emma has an allergic reaction to seafood, and Charlie rushes her to the hospital. Without medical insurance for the hospital care, ambulance ride, and prescriptions, Emma runs up a $2,000 bill that Charlie pays. She promises to pay him back every dime. A few days later, Emma has the first installment, but a bike rider hurts her knee in a hit-and-run. Charlie brings her inside to help patch her up. She notices that Charlie has pictures on the wall with names and asks if he is a serial killer. He explains the photographs are of his daughter, Francine, son, Rex, and granddaughter, Lindsay. Later, Emma attends an anniversary interview for Charlie’s first movie. But she spies something is off with Charlie when he forgets the name of the stars of his film. She meets Charlie after the interview, and he admits that he is in the early stages of dementia. And, other than his doctors, Emma is the first person he told. She decides to stay by Charlie’s side until he gets the courage to tell his family. Until then, she is here today.
Based on The Prize by Alan Zweibel, this movie is a poignant look at love and friendship grounded in humor (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). Charlie meets Emma as his past crashes with his doomed future. He starts to forget his son’s name and other important events. During these moments of lost memories, Charlie has vivid flashbacks about his past with his children and wife, Carrie. Seeing him lost in the best and worst times of his life is heartbreaking because he works so hard to make everyone laugh. Even as his world falls apart, he makes jokes. It doesn’t take much for audiences to believe the friendship between Charlie and Emma is real. Their generational gap helps them put a defining line between companionship and romance. Emma doesn’t help him out of obligation but out of concern and love. This movie will become a favorite while bringing a tear to your eye and a smile on your face.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
You don’t stop for commas, do you – Charlie
Good bye, old man – Emma
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