WILD OATS – Review by Susan Granger

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Eva (Shirley MacLaine) is a retired 10th grade social studies teacher who, when her husband dies, accidentally receives a $5 million check from his life insurance policy, instead of the $50,000 that she expected. Her first impulse is to return it, but then her best friend Maddie (Jessica Lange), whose husband has just left her for his young secretary, suggests that she endorse and deposit the check immediately so they travel to an exotic place and have some well-deserved fun. Read on…

As soon as the check clears, Eva and Maddie take off for Las Palmas de Grand Canaria in the Spanish Canary Islands, where they happily settle into the posh Presidential Suite, ready to pamper themselves with food, drink and extravagant resort clothes.

To their delight, Chandler (Billy Connolly), a rather mysterious Scottish businessman, takes an immediate liking to Eva, while adventurous Maddie catches the eye of twentysomething Chip (Jay Hayden).

Back home, realizing their error, the insurance company dispatches Vespucci (Howard Hesseman), a ready-to-retire agent, to try to retrieve their money. Arriving at Eva’s house, he encounters her disbelieving daughter Crystal (Demi Moore) who agrees to go with him to Grand Canaria.

Meanwhile, Eva and Maddie realize that they’ve been conned by Chandler, who is working for Carlos (Santiago Segura), the local wine baron.

Playing off one another, Shirley MacLaine (“Postcards From the Edge”) and Jessica Lange (TV’s “American Horror Story”) are believable as close friends, but MacLaine seems far more comfortable with comedy than Lange.

Basically, these veteran actresses deserve better material than this predictable, cliché-riddled script by Gary Kanew and Claudia Myers, superficially directed by Andy Tennant.

FYI: Sarah Jessica Parker was originally supposed to play Crystal; she was replaced by Demi Moore.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Wild Oats” is a flaccid 4, well suited for the Lifetime Channel on which it premiere’d.

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