Review: ‘Moving On’

After the previous Lily Tomlin/Jane Fonda effort a few weeks ago where they happily go hunting for the athletic delights of Tom Brady in 80 For Brady, Paul Weitz’s Moving On could be described as the dark flip side adventure to these iconic Hollywood starlets and their recent resurgence. Both films prove that both Fonda and Tomlin have plenty of charisma left in the tank and I don’t imagine them slowing down any time soon.

In this film, however, the stakes are much higher than a road-trip full of synchronized dance routines and mistaken cannabis consumption. As Claire, Fonda leaves her Ohio hometown and travels to California for the funeral of an old friend, where she immediately confronts the widower (Malcolm McDowell) and tells him of her plans to kill him that weekend.

The black comedy vibes are firmly entrenched from that moment on, especially as Claire meets a third old friend of the group Evelyn (Lily Tomlin) and proceeds to go gun shopping, discusses how to mix poisons, and steals the first knife she can get her hands on. Black comedy, indeed.

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned (or in this case, something much more triggering) , but just as soon as we think Moving On is all about buried vendettas, Weitz turns it into a somewhat melancholy and rambling tale of two women coming to terms with their past.

As Evelyn, Tomlin gives the best performance. Also holding some privileged information about their dead friend, she delivers most of her lines with that Tomlin panache we’ve come to appreciate- part slicing and part earthly. Of course, Fonda is given the flashier role, but there’s also a stop down as she connects with an old flame (a stoic and reverential Richard Roundtree) and, for a time, I wished the film were about these two and their complicated history rather than the often imperfect comedy presented by other aspects of the film.

Instead, Moving On kicks back into Fonda revenge mode, and while it does scatter through a range of inconsistent tones, it’s entertaining for the presence of Tomlin and Fonda who could do this type of thing for many more years. It’s no 9 to 5 (1980), but few films these days reach that type of cloistered rage within a deft comedy package.

Moving On opens in wide release on Friday Match 17th. Check local listings for showtimes.