Errol Flynn, famed for his swashbuckling roles onscreen and his enthusiastic love life offscreen, is feeling a bit glum. His latest girlfriend is out with people her own age. Turning to a sympathetic friend, Flynn wistfully says, "I'm too old for her, but she's not too young for me."

How clever. How quotable. But wait, it turns out that Flynn was 48 when he started dating the ... are you ready ... 15-year-old girl. Defending himself to the girl's mother, Flynn points out that he was led to believe she was 18. Mom assisted with the deception to help her daughter break into showbiz.

Mom didn't object to her daughter spending time with Flynn. She only got upset when she found out they were having sex. After Flynn uses his carefully cultivated British accent (he was born in Tasmania, Australia) to charm/bribe her, she settles down. The affair goes on.

The Last of Robin Hood (a reference to one of Flynn's most well-known roles) should have been a meaty film. Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland wrote and directed the movie and they did interesting work on the 2001 feature The Fluffer and the fine 2006 Sundance award-winning Quinceañera.

Kevin Kline stars as Flynn, and who is better equipped to play the part than the suave-on-demand veteran actor? Former child star Dakota Fanning co-stars as young Beverly Aadland, and the reliably wonderful Susan Sarandon plays her stage mother, Florence.

With that level of talent my expectations were high, but the film knocked them down in short order. It's is a low-budget production and it shows. Many of the sets look like sets — too flat, too clean. Rear-screen projection is used unconvincingly in driving scenes.

The flatness of the visuals is also apparent in the script. There are moments of interest, but not enough, and the characters are what you would expect and nothing more. Young Beverly is a determined girl, but she is a work-in-progress and, by definition, unfinished. Fanning does what she can with her character, but is given scant wiggle room.

I thought Kline would waltz away with the movie, but he is constrained by the structure of the screenplay. The film is largely based on a tell-all book written by Beverly's mother after Flynn's death, and for much of the time, we observe Flynn through her eyes. Between the point-of-view and the fact that the film covers the last two years of Flynn's life, we see the star as a shadow of himself, albeit a horny one.

Sarandon gets the richest part and uses her skills, including those remarkable eyes, to make the mother as nuanced as possible. Alas, her part is only a little juicier than the others, and it doesn't help that no one on the production team noticed how much Florence looks like Mama in Mama's Family. Between the flat sets, the flat characters and Sarandon's appearance, The Last of Robin Hood plays like a long sketch from The Carol Burnett Show with statutory rape instead of jokes.


The November Man ★★ (out of five)

Pierce Brosnan plays retired CIA agent lured Peter Devereaux out of retirement for one last mission. Honestly, they actually do the “one last mission” bit! For what it's worth, the mission is to protect a prized witness (Olga Kurylenko) and — darn the luck — that puts Devereaux square in the sights of his former friend and protege (Luke Bracey). Don't you just hate when that happens? It's nice to see Brosnan in action, but don't expect anything resembling originality here. This is type-by-numbers filmmaking.

As Above/So Below ★1/2

Beneath Paris, the City of Light, there are the dark catacombs. A young archaeologist, accompanied by a colleague and three thrill seekers, goes below to search for the legendary Philosopher's Stone. They soon end up in a cursed area where their inner demons emerge. Sounds pretty good, eh? Unfortunately, the film is made of “found footage” (yawn) and bad acting. The longer it goes on, the more annoying it becomes. Don't believe me? Check The New York Times, which compares watching the film to observing a poorly done colonoscopy.


Ed Johnson-Ott has been NUVO's lead film critic for more than 20 years.

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