Land Ho! (2014) – Film Review

Director: Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens
Writers: Aaron Katz, Martha Stephens
Cast: Earl Lynn Nelson, Paul Eenhoorn, Alice Olivia Clarke
Runtime: 95 min
Rating: R

It seems like this summer has been a good year for non-Hollywood roadtrip movies. This time the genre comes in the form of Land Ho!, a lighthearted comedy that makes fun of age and inhibitions starring two dashing elderly gentlemen who rival any young heartthrobs.

Sometime after Colin (Paul Eenhoorn) lost his wife, he still hasn’t healed completely. Ex brother-in-law Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson) invites him to dinner in hopes of comforting him with the news that he has booked them both a trip to Iceland. Although hesitant to accept, Colin agrees to take the journey with Mitch, and they both set out to re-live the energetic days of their youth. While traveling they will not only explore their relationship with one another, but they will reflect on their own spirits.

Land Ho!

Despite the fact that the two main actors have had very different acting experience, they work great together, and their chemistry helps develop a relationship that is heartwarming and believable. While it is impossible to not feel drawn towards the two main characters and their heartwarming dynamic, I have to admit that both their personalities are quite draining, and they took from the experience of fully enjoying the film. While Colin negativity is a tad overdone, this is mostly true for Mitch, whose raunchy personality and irreverent lines were abused to the point of making me feel absolutely uncomfortable watching. With another kind of movie I would understand this as a way of making a character seem evil or disagreeable, but it certainly felt that Mitch’s character was way too overdone for the lightheartedness of the film. A little goes a long way, and the script would have benefited with having such lines greatly reduced.

Visually the film is a perfect advertisement for visiting Iceland. The cool tones and natural landscapes were filmed beautifully, and the country was the perfect setting for a story such as this to evolve. Unfortunately, this was not achieved by the music, which at many times reminded me of a John Hughes film. Although I think the film had strange musical choices, it certainly helped the characters achieve a certain goofiness that made it easier for the spectator to connect to the events on screen.

Land Ho!

I can’t help but feel that this film’s formula makes it so that it is impossible to not get enjoyment out of it. It’s a road trip movie in a beautiful country about two cute old men who refuse to let life get the best of them, and decide to live it to the fullest; how could this fail? The script is solid and so is the acting, and while neither brings anything extraordinary to the game, they are enough to create a successful outcome that certainly gives directors Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens a chance to shine. While the individual parts of Land Ho! would be somewhat lackluster, together they work, and because of that this film is worth a shot this summer. More often than not our senses go into overdrive while watching films, but this feature will bring you casual enjoyment that will not leave a mark, but will certainly entertain and relax for a short time.

The Breakdown
  • 7/10
    Direction - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Performances - 7/10
  • 7/10
    Screenplay - 7/10
  • 8/10
    Cinematography - 8/10
  • 6/10
    Music/Sound - 6/10
7/10
More Stories
Culture and Literary Works: A Discussion with JLF Toronto’s Namita Gokhale