Seniors behaving badly

Pub date April 15, 2008
SectionFilm FeaturesSectionFilm Review

REVIEW From the onset, it seems as though a documentary about a choir of seniors behaving badly would be a comical one-trick pony. But because of the involvement of a very savvy choral director and the endlessly unpredictable antics of high-spirited octogenarians, Young@Heart is a sweet, wonderful, harrowing laugh riot from start to finish. Seriously, I didn’t laugh this hard at Superbad. Director Stephen Walker also narrates; he’s a British expat whose dry delivery is well timed and well chosen. The singers are instantly lovable, and they do nothing but outfox their physical maladies — they’ve earned their age and let nothing restrain their appetites for living. The inevitable tragedies that befall a few subjects make for painful plot twists, though certain changes of context make this a unique meditation on age; the videos tapped by Walker to illustrate the unconventional songs this choir sings are clever cues. "I Wanna Be Sedated," anthem of disaffection and recreational drug use, is set in a convalescent home. Meanwhile, other more melancholic meditations (like the choir’s version of Talking Heads’ "On the Road to Nowhere" — placed in the doc just after the passing of a central member) seem pointed at the possible conclusion that the subjects of Young@Heart grasp their existential crises, and simply choose not to be bothered.

YOUNG@HEART opens Fri/18 in Bay Area theaters.