A review of Dan Fogelman’s dramedy “Danny Collins.” Rating: 2.5 stars out of 4.

Share story

Much of Dan Fogelman’s dramedy “Danny Collins” involves watching Al Pacino wander around in flashy suits, being charming to people in a very larger-than-life, make-sure-they-can-see-me-in-the-back-row kind of way — and, let’s just admit it, you can probably think of worse ways to spend the better part of two hours. (Or maybe you can’t, in which case this isn’t your movie.)

Pacino plays the title character, a coked-up version of Neil Diamond crossed with Tom Jones: an aging pop star who’s getting tired of singing the same signature songs to blue-haired Vegas audiences. After hitting a milestone birthday (too hard) and being unexpectedly presented with a letter to his 20-something self from John Lennon, Danny has one of those revelations so beloved of screenwriters: He wants to rethink his life, reconnect with the son he never knew, and perhaps become a better man.

That he does so should come as no surprise; we’ve all seen movies like this before. “Danny Collins” leans a little too hard on the charm: Everyone Danny meets — his estranged son (Bobby Cannavale), daughter-in-law (Jennifer Garner) and young granddaughter (Giselle Eisenberg), as well as the ever-smiling manager (Annette Bening) and staff of the New Jersey Hilton in which Danny holes up — is unfailingly nice. (This is the kind of movie in which the ever-so-cute grandkid’s name is — wait for it — Hope.)

Movie Review ★★½  

‘Danny Collins,’ with Al Pacino, Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, Christopher Plummer. Written and directed by Dan Fogelman. 106 minutes. Rated R for language, drug use and some nudity. Several theaters.

But it’s fun watching Pacino sashay around in his necklaces and pinstripes and eyebrows, flirting with the help and making Bening giggle, and he’s got some great clash-of-the-titans scenes with Christopher Plummer, who plays Danny’s longtime manager. And Cannavale has one wonderful moment that’s so poignant — staring wordlessly at his daughter, late in the film, with a look of such sadness and decency and, yes, hope — that you forgive “Danny Collins” its excesses. Like its hero, the movie is flawed, but hard to resist.