Streaming Review

Best Sellers review – Michael Caine does his best to lift a predictable road trip

A gently affecting performance from the legendary actor is housed in a film you're unlikely to remember after the credits roll

“Gruff and crotchety old man ends up charming the world despite his millennial-baiting opinions and crude language” is a premise that was exhausted almost as soon as it was conceived, and Best Sellers is not the film to make it feel fresh again. It’s a boilerplate example of the genre, as an aged British author reluctantly goes on a national book tour with his American millennial editor and ends up going viral with his vulgar outbursts and catchphrase of  “bullshite,” while each character teaches the other about the ways of the world.

Michael Caine is the author, Harris, while Aubrey Plaza plays his editor Lucy, and though the dialogue they’re given rarely rises above “passable,” it's their strengths as performers that keeps Best Sellers ticking along. Plaza gives her role more passion and heart than it really deserves on the page, and it is fun to see Caine in a leading role again, reminding us that behind his endlessly imitated voice there’s a proper actor. He also gets some lovely moments just playing with Harris’s friendly cat.

Outside of the two leads, though, everything else feels sluggish and lifeless, and a very drab colour palette ensures Best Sellers is never much to look at. It’s the sort of ambling, middle-of-the-road film you might catch finding yourself watching on TV on a lazy evening – hard to outright dislike, but entirely forgotten the next day.

Apparently, Best Sellers could wind up as Caine’s final film, and whilst it is nice to see him in the kind of gently affecting lead performance he hasn’t been afforded in a while, you can’t help but wish he had a film around him to match. His is a truly magnificent career, but this is a bit like going out with a shrug of the shoulders.

Best Sellers is now available to rent and buy on various streaming platforms.

Where to watch

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