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Grandma

5/10

Stars: Lily Tomlin, Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Sam Elliott, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, Elizabeth Peņa, Nat Wolff, Colleen Camp

Director: Paul Weitz

I used to love goofy Lily Tomlin, all the way from TV's Laugh-In to The Incredible Shrinking Woman. But she seems distinctly under-powered at times in this vehicle, written especially with her in mind, and casting her as a foul-mouthed old lesbian whose life partner has died 18 months before, and now finds her much-younger new lover (Greer) walking out on her.

But that's not all: her 17-year-old granddaughter (Garner) arrives, pregnant and in need of money for an abortion for which she cannot ask her mother (Harden), and which Grandma, who has improbably cut up all her credit cards to make a ceiling mobile, simply doesn't have.

Cue an abrasive road trip, as Grandma tries unsuccessfully to extract money from a series of friends (acquaintances would perhaps be closer), including the baby's own father (Wolff), whom she beats up, and her own long-unseen ex (Elliott), on whom she walked out after a few weeks.

Harden, Elliott and Garner are all good here - and there's even a rare appearance from one-time UK sex moppet Judy Geeson - but it's a strained and stilted Tomlin who's unfortunately the fly in the ointment at her own movie which, although bearing a 2015 copyright, looks as though it were made some time earlier.

David Quinlan

USA 2015. UK Distributor: Sony (Sony Pictures Classics). Colour (unspecified).
79 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 07 Dec 2015