(director/writer: Peter Farrelly; screenwriters: Brian Currie/Nick Vallelonga; cinematographer: Sean Porter; editor: Patrick J. Don Vito; music: Kris Bowers; cast: Viggo Mortensen (“Tony Lip” Vallelonga ), Mahershala Ali (Dr. Don Shirley), Linda Cardellini (Dolores), Don Stark (Jules Podell), P. J. Byrne (Record Producer), Sebastian Maniscalco (Johnny Venere), Montel Miller (), Dimiter D. Marinov (); Runtime: 130; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Charles B. Wessler/Nick Vallelonga/Jim Burke/Peter Farrelly/Brian Currie; Universal Pictures; 2018)
“ It seems like a revised Driving Miss Daisy film, appealing to the same audience.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Peter Farrelly (“Movie 43″/”The Valet”), half of the Farrelly brothers of Dumb and Dumber fame, writes and directs a dramedy based on a true story about racism in the Deep South of 1962. His co-writers are Brian Currie and Nick Vallelonga (Tony’s son). Don “Doc” Shirley (Mahershala Ali) is the renowned black jazz pianist; “Tony Lip” (Viggo Mortensen) is the tough-guy, hustler Italian-American bouncer for the Copacabana from the Bronx. Shirley hires him to drive him through the Deep South for his eight-week recital tour in the fall of 1962, while the married Tony needs money to tide him over until the Copa reopens from its renovations.
It seems like a revised Driving Miss Daisy film, appealing to the same audience. The cultured Shirley lives in a luxury apartment above Carnegie Hall, where he interviews Tony for the job following a recommendation. On the road, the odd couple trade barbs: Shirley with Tony’s poor diction and manners, Tony for Shirley’s snobbish attitude.The People’s Choice Winner at the Toronto Film Fest offers a pleasing buddy road film, with the opposites by the journey’s end bonding to become good friends after sticking together to push back against a few a racist incidents.
The chemistry between the stars was good, with Viggo providing all the best comical moments. The film though too predictable for my tastes was still uplifting, and is needed especially in today’s charged divisive atmosphere where it doesn’t hurt to see the races getting along.In case you wonder what a Green Book is, it was a handbook guide for black motorists seeking friendly places to stay when on the road in the Jim Crow South.
REVIEWED ON 9/22/2018 GRADE: B https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/