HERE TODAY DVD (2021)
SYNOPSIS: Veteran comedy writer Charlie Burnz (Billy Crystal) forms an unlikely yet hilarious and touching friendship with New York lounge singer Emma Payge (Tiffany Haddish). Emma unexpectedly wins a lunch with the comedy legend, and their friendship gets off to an extremely rocky start (think seafood allergy, a hospital visit, and an epi pen). Before long, each finds in the other a sort of soul mate, forging a deep bond that kicks the generation gap aside and redefines the meaning of friendship, love, and trust.
2021 is a good year when it comes to legendary comedians liked Steve Martin, Martin Short who returned to the small screen with Only Murders in the Building. That’s not all, nine times Academy Awards host, comedian, actor Billy Crystal also returned with a little known gem known as Here Today.
Charlie Burnz (Crystal) is a successful television comedy writer who has a flourishing career on the silver screen and Broadway. The man has everything except the love and patience from his eldest daughter, Francine (Laura Benanti). But time is running out for Charlie or as he puts it, words are fast running out as he is suffering from a rare form of dementia.
Fortunately for Charlie, an unexpected lunch date with a club singer, Emma (Tiffany Haddish) changes Charlie’s bleak outlook on his future. Will he finally be united with his estranged children? And will he complete his long-delayed family memoir which is dedicated to his late wife, Carrie (Louisa Krause)?
Despite knowing where Here Today is heading to, it is often times a hilarious little movie. This is very much due to the sizzling chemistry between Crystal and Haddish, not in a sexualized kind of context mind you. The amusing interaction comes across as genuine and beautiful even though Haddish is very much a newcomer opposite veteran Billy Crystal. Haddish manages to stand on her own delivering a true sense of camaraderie via her wise-cracking character.
More than two decades after his last directorial gig in Forget Paris, the 73-year-old Crystal directs, co-wrote and produced this effort. Although Here Today looks kind of “dated” from mainly a technical perspective, Crystal manages to keep things afloat with its perfectly pleasing story and moving dialogue. Well, no doubt it gets a bit mawkish towards the end, there’s always a certain amount of positive energy that turned it into a tasteful dramedy.
Apparently, there’s lots to cover beside the dementia plotting including Charlie’s unconditional love for his granddaughter, Lindsay (Audrey Hsieh), his frustration in recalling his son, Rex (Penn Badgley) and guilt-ridden at the way his wife died. There’s no surprises right here to be frank. Without all the usual expensive CGI and loud sound effects, this old-fashioned crafted drama is good enough to make you laugh and cry at the same time. Welcome back, Mr. Crystal!
Audio Commentary with Billy Crystal, Tiffany Haddish and Alan Zweibel is an enjoyable listening experience as the main talents recount the filming experiences and the development of the story.
Interviews with Filmmaker & Cast is a brief segment where the cast and crew talks about the making of the movie.
Definitely not the kind of movie to boast lush visual effects and cinematography, the DVD is serviceable in terms of delivering passable visual and the Dolby Digital 5.1 is equipped in presenting rich dialogue and environmental sound effects.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee