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‘Senior Moment’: William Shatner, charming at 90, still can’t save thin rom-com romp

Built of sitcom-style hijinks and pretty light on those, it’s barely a movie.

Car buff Victor Martin (William Shatner) loses his driver’s license in “Senior Moment.”
Screen Media

The geriatric rom-com “Senior Moment” opens with the 1969 hit “Venus” by Shocking Blue on the soundtrack, and the unmistakable voice of William Shatner in voice-over:

“Look at you, such a dirty girl. A good shower before a wild ride is all you need. Ooh my, you make heads turn. I like that.”

Oh Lord. Isn’t William Shatner, like, 109 years old? Do we want to hear 109-year-old William Shatner talking sexy-dirty in a movie?

Clarification time. William Shatner isn’t 109; he just turned 90 on March 22, and he looks and sounds at least 15 years younger than that. (Hold the jokes about the age of his hair please.) Also, Shatner’s Victor Martin isn’t cooing those words of lust and love to another human being in “Senior Moment” — he’s talking to his beloved 1955 Porsche 356 Continental as he lovingly washes the pristine-condition classic.

Still. Kind of upsetting.

Shatner has not always been the most self-deprecating of actors, but he brings a certain goofball charm to this amiable and lightweight romp, which might have worked as the pilot episode for a TV series but has far too little story to make for a feature-length film. It’s the kind of movie you can watch with your grandparents and if you all nod off for 5 or 10 minutes at just about any point in the story, you probably won’t have to rewind to catch up.

Set in sunny Palm Springs, California, “Senior Moment” revolves around such less-than-thrilling plot storylines as Victor (a former Air Force and NASA pilot) losing his driver’s license after a reckless driving mishap; sitcom-type misunderstandings between lifelong bachelor Victor and his new romantic interest, Jean Smart’s Caroline, a lovely hippie who runs a bohemian, all-organic café; a fundraising drive to help save a tortoise, and Victor’s determination to fix the broken cuckoo clock in Caroline’s café.

“Avengers: Endgame” this isn’t. It doesn’t even have the wow factor of “On Golden Pond.”

Jean Smart co-stars as Victor’s love interest, a hippie café operator.
Screen Media

Katrina Bowden from “30 Rock” shows up as a bikini model who takes a liking to Victor but suddenly disappears from the story. Christopher Lloyd, who is so strong playing against type in this week’s “Nobody,” is saddled with a cardboard-thin Best Friend role that requires him to wear a bad hat and a worse wig, and Carlos Miranda pops in here and there and does fine work as a low-rider motorist who got into some trash-talking with Victor but eventually becomes an ally. Nearly every entrance and exit feels so stiff and staged, we half-expect to hear a studio audience applauding, or canned laughter.

Victor is more of a Flirty Old Man than a Dirty Old Man, and in Shatner’s veteran hands we come to like this amiable if sometimes politically incorrect old-timer. Shatner and Smart have a comfortable chemistry, and it IS nice to see a movie romance between two people who remember the 1960s. It’s just too bad they’re in a vehicle that isn’t nearly as impressive as that vintage Porsche.