Young at Hearts

on September 08, 1995 by Carole Glines
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   The kind of low-budget indie often recommendable simply as a change of pace to slick Hollywood product, "Young at Hearts" has plenty of heart but will try the patience of most with its utter lack of storyline. Director/writer/co-producer Don Campbell has his name all over the movie, and he throws everything he has onscreen without regard to time, tempo or narrative thread. Worse, the characters--played by the eight elderly Jewish women (who once gathered at the now-closed tea room of an L.A. department store to play pan and talk about their lives) on whom the film is based--dwell in a no-man's-land between documentary and fiction.
   These nonactors do their best, but their characters are boring in the format Campbell has stuck them in. He often has them address the camera, as if his merely presenting the women will engage our sympathies--just look at the old dears! But the discussions among the ladies (with obligatory 360-degree pans around the card table) often degenerate into kvetching no one would be interested in. When one describes how an old man picked her up on a park bench, the others cluck, but there's no dramatic payoff to any of these personal revelations. Ultimately, we'd all be better off visiting our own grannies than seeing "Young at Hearts."    Starring Edna Brenner and Ida Engel. Directed and written by Don Campbell. Produced by Don Campbell and Michael Lowe. An Outsider release. Docudrama. Unrated. Running time: 73 min.
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