There’s something gratifying in seeing the idea of getting older being embraced rather than shunned on television. Whereas a show like The Golden Girls — about four senior citizens living together — was an oddity on the TV landscape when it originally ran, today there are a number of shows and movies giving us characters aging in style. The Netflix original film, The Last Laugh, is only the latest example.
The film, which debuts in January, stars Richard Dreyfuss (who exploded onto the scene all those years ago with movies like Jaws, Close Encounters, and The Goodbye Girl — the latter of which he took home the Best Actor Oscar for) as Buddy Green, a stand-up comedian who decided to walk away from the world of comedy half a century earlier to become a podiatrist. Chevy Chase (who we first became familiar with via Saturday Night Live and, then, the Vacation movies, among many others) is Al Hart, the talent manager that used to book his gigs in the old days. Well now Al has decided to “spring” Buddy from his retirement home and take him on the road one more time for an opportunity to tour at stand-up venues around the country.
In a statement, writer/director Greg Pritikin notes, “For me, The Last Laugh is about learning to let go of the past and embrace the present. It’s about rediscovering and remembering how to live. There is a grace in growing old and in letting go of the hustle and ambition, and embracing this new season in your life. I think people are happier at this point. It’s about letting go of the past and embracing the now.”
Also starring in the film is Andie MacDowell as Doris Montgomery, though her part hasn’t been defined at this point; Kate Micucci, Ritchie Montgomery, and comedian Lewis Black. Recent series that have dealt with the older generation trying to reclaim their place in life include Amazon’s Grace & Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin; and The Kominsky Method, starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin.
Netflix hasn’t announced when in January The Last Laugh will begin streaming.