Set course for schmaltz when Billy Crystal puts his mind to dementia. They say inside every comedian is a serious dramatic performance bursting to get out. Lucille Ball (Stone Pillow), Jerry Lewis (The Jazz Singer), and Kevin James (Becky) all set out to prove their dramatic skill and instead rewarded audiences with a trio of inadvertently hilarious performances. Crystal’s Charlie Burnz turns up D.O.A. Charlie worked so hard building a career in comedy that in the time he spent racking up accolades he failed miserably as a parent. A widowed father of two, even his children can’t stand him. Fearing that they’ll turn their backs on him, Charlie keeps his onset illness a secret. Emma (Tiffany Haddish) got custody of the lunch date her ex-boyfriend won at a celebrity auction and before long that patient and caregiver are living together in a sexless romance. (Haddish buffs Emma with such benign polish it’s no wonder she was considered to replace Ellen Degeneres.) Dementia is not the only disease Charlie is stricken with. Everything that passes his lips is a punchline and he’s not the only one. Crystal co-wrote the script with SNL alum Alan Zweibel and damn if every character doesn’t speak with the same voice. Even Charlie’s Asian granddaughter delivers her Bat Mitzvah speech in fluent schticklach. (The event both sparks and reinforces stereotypes by serving unorthodox spare ribs to a black guest who can’t get her fill.) Crystal’s tragedy with a laugh track is eminently skippable. (2021) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.