Movie review of “One More Time”: Christopher Walken gives a superlative performance as a second-tier crooner on the downslope of his career in this bitingly perceptive family drama. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 4.
Caution: Ego ahead.
And Paul Lombard (Christopher Walken), the possessor of that outsize ego in “One More Time,” is truly a caution.
A second-tier crooner in the tradition of Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin, now on the downslope of his career, he’s a legend in his own mind. His home, a second-tier mansion in the Hamptons (upscale but not top-of-the-line) is a monument to himself. Framed album covers featuring his face through the decades line the walls, along with other large Paulcentric portraits. He spends his evenings reliving his glory days by watching videos of himself in performance and editing his Wikipedia page to juice up his biography.
Movie Review ★★★½
‘One More Time,’ with Amber Heard, Christopher Walken, Kelli Garner, Oliver Platt. Written and directed by Robert Edwards. 97 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains language, some sexuality). Varsity.
He’s irrepressible in his self-regard and irresponsible in his relationships. He has multiple ex-wives and the enduring enmity of his two daughters to attest to that irresponsibility.
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And he’s not even the lead character in this bitingly perceptive family drama by writer-director Robert Edwards. That distinction belongs to Paul’s oldest daughter, Jude (Amber Heard), a 31-year-old singer-musician whose life is pretty much of a mess. Her music career is stalled, she’s having an affair with a married man, she’s being evicted from her New York apartment. She lays much of the blame for her messed-up state on her dad.
He’s the figure around whom everyone in the movie revolves. He sounds pathetic. He sounds like a joke. But he’s in on the joke. Self-absorbed he may be, but he’s not blind to his flaws.
When Jude tells him the people offering him the chance for a comeback are planning to package him as a kitschy novelty act, he responds, “You think I don’t know that? So what!” From his perspective, a comeback is a comeback. The spotlight will be on him once more, and that will be enough.
Thanks to Walken’s superlative, multileveled performance and Edwards’ trenchant writing, this complicated guy — and his complicated relationships, with Jude and his other daughter, Corinne (Kelli Garner), a steely, responsible woman, the yin to Jude’s yang — is a weirdly beguiling figure.
You can’t look away from that ego, blazing bright.