After pairing with Nicolas Cage for the 2014 film “Joe,” director David Gordon Green lets loose another star, Al Pacino, in “Manglehorn.”
Pacino brings his peculiar brand of soulful jive to the lonely Texas locksmith of the title, playing a hunched, courtly curmudgeon who loves his cat and gets along with others fine, but sometimes acts as if he hates everyone, as someone else helpfully puts it.
Green’s latest small-town portrait has its romantic-eccentric touches: hazy scene transitions, Harmony Korine gabbing away as a wheeler-dealer who idolizes Manglehorn (his former Little League coach) and a trippy traffic-jam tribute to Jean-Luc Godard’s “Weekend.” But as Manglehorn reads letters to a long-lost love (in voice-over), the movie clicks into place as the tried-and-true story of a tough old guy who has locked his heart.
Holly Hunter plays a bank teller, Dawn, who accepts his invitation to a pancake jamboree.
In what’s almost a specialty for the actress playing her, Dawn puts up with his oblivious disrespect as far as dignity allows.
Manglehorn also reserves some tin-eared treatment for his semi-estranged son (Chris Messina), a huckster investor.
In the hands of Pacino, a story of self-realization has a bit more groove in its step than it usually does (and shades of darker moods).
Green drops in some slam-dunk details, like the bees’ nest on Manglehorn’s mailbox (which he, slow to change, works around).
But in truth, it’s less “Manglehorn” than Pacino that you warm up to in this film, as so many times before.
Rated PG-13 | Time: 1:37