Review: One More Time
REVIEW: At one point in ONE MORE TIME, Christopher Walken’s character, Paul, muses that he was born a good ten years too late. A popular crooner, he explains how his run on the charts was brief due to changing musical tastes and while he’s had a lucrative enough career that he’s able to live in a palatial estate, he never quite got to the Tony Bennett level he aspired to. He missed the crooning hey-day. In a way, the same could be said of Christopher Walken. Now don’t get me wrong, Walken is an absolute icon, with him enjoying an inter-generational cult-status rivaled only by someone like Bill Murray. But Walken has often bristled at the intense, bad guy parts he usually plays. With his gift for crooning and dancing, one imagines that had he been born a few decades earlier he would have been a song-and-dance man for a studio like MGM.
As such, Walken is ideally cast in ONE MORE TIME, a modest indie crowdpleaser that should do well on VOD. It’s actually a shame that Walken’s first real leading role in a couple of years is getting such a low-key release, as Walken really brings his best to a part that must have resonated pretty deeply with him. It’s interesting how Walken’s song-and-dance talents used to be seen as somewhat comical as they were limited to his SNL appearances, where the gag was that this famously intense guy just wanted to sing his heart out. But, his talent in this area is genuine (as shown by his number in 1981’s PENNIES FROM HEAVEN or his Fatboy Slim “Weapon of Choice” video), and Walken’s nicely aged, experienced voice makes his Paul Lombard seem like he actually could have sold a bunch of albums.
At the same time, ONE MORE TIME full embraces Walken’s wackier side, with his increasingly dotty character spending a lot of time getting high, watching VH-1 and complaining how no one’s ever done a “Behind the Music” about his own scandals. Writer-director Robert Edwards has a lot of fun with the Walken image, with album covers from Lombard’s misjudged forays into psychedelia and hip hop adorning the walls of his estate. A twist later on in the film gives Lombard the comeback chance he’s been waiting for, with him excitedly telling his daughter Jude (Amber Heard) that he’s opening for The Flaming Lips, or as he calls them “Flaminglips!!!”
While Walken’s the show; Heard’s just as prominent, with her own subplot reminiscent of the work of someone like Anne Hathaway in RACHEL GETTING MARRIED. Heard has always been a much better actress than people have given her credit for, with her usually getting cast in parts that exploit her bombshell good looks. She has a lot of spunk, and she plays well off Walken, even if her own plotline, where she tries to escape her father’s shadow seems a little too familiar. A side plot where she clumsily makes a pass at her sister’s (Kelli Garner) husband (Hamish Linklater) feels a bit artificial, as does his attempt later on. This part of the film never quite works and keeps the focus away from where it needs to be – on Walken and Heard.
Even if it’s uneven, ONE MORE TIME (a terrible title) is well-worth seeing for Walken and Heard’s terrific performances, with both of them clearly relishing the opportunity to stretch. It’s a quick, breezy little indie and better than its low-key release would suggest.