‘A Legacy of Whining’ Review: Stay Up All Night With Ross Munro’s Comedy of Mid-life Desperation
Mitch, who is a wannabe actor barely on the right side of fifty, meets up with his friend Dunc, after a hiatus of thirty years. They spend the night revisiting old haunts in an attempt to rekindle their friendship, but unfortunately no longer seem to have anything in common, if they ever did. Dunc just wants to get laid, whereas Mitch needs to get up in the morning to attend an audition.
Written, directed and starring Ross Munro, A Legacy of Whining, is a charmingly ambling affair, as Mitch (Munro) and Dunc (Robert David Duncan) trade one liners as they mooch from place to place into the early hours. One brilliant running gag involves Mitch trying out seemingly endless variations on the old parting joke, “Let’s make like a tree and leave.” These include, “Let’s make like a couple of large breasted women on a trampoline and bounce.”
There are some good physical jokes too. Especially memorable is recurring bit, where Mitch imagines himself and Dunc as a couple of old-timey vaudeville hoofers. At the beginning of the movie they are grinning and dancing together, but by the end Dunc has hit him in the nether regions and marched off the stage.
Munro makes for a likeable lead actor, presenting Mitch as a rumpled middle aged man, who behaves like a bemused teenager, unable to give up his dream of being an actor. He has a face and manner made to be laughed at, and uses his gifts accordingly. Robert David Duncan, as Dunc, makes for the perfect comic foil. Dunc at first appears to be the mature one, his manner is stiff, steely-eyed and judgemental, until we realise that he is wallowing in a colossal mid-life crisis and wants nothing more than to chomp Viagra by the handful and lay down with twenty-year-old girls.
Between them they make for two different, but equally desperate portraits of middle age, the one unwilling to grow up, the other desperate to be young again, and both rife with comic potential. They may not learn anything about themselves, or perhaps even each other, as the night wears on, but their very obtuseness just adds to the fun. They make for a perfect odd-couple pairing, and staying up all night with them is an abrasively enjoyable experience.
With A Legacy of Whining, Munro has crafted a generally witty, eccentric, and disarmingly honest film about growing old and holding on to increasingly embarrassing dreams.