REVIEW: ‘Just Getting Started’ Doesn’t Work As An Action Or Comedy Film

During most of “Just Getting Started,” I couldn’t wait for it to finish.

The film tells the story of Duke (Morgan Freeman), the manager of a high end retirement complex who lives a very happy life. More or less, Duke is like a king at the housing complex, with no troubles around.

That begins to shift, though, when a new resident, Leo (Tommy Lee Jones) moves in and instantly becomes a rival. Seemingly, everything Duke can do, Leo can do a little bit better. Things get even more complicated when a corporate adviser, Suzie (Rene Russo), is sent in to examine Duke’s work.

This film, starring two Academy Award winners no less, is an absolute train wreck. The picture tells a story that feels immensely dated, as if it were something that were to come out in the 90s. It all feels so predictable and recycled.

On top of that, it’s not very funny, something that torpedoes any comedy. Much of the film is strung together by a bunch of lame shenanigans that all feel rather lazy. An example of this humor are some ‘zany’ moments of the characters playing golf.

The movie also has the audacity to consider itself an action flick, too. That’s an insult to action comedies. The action here is largely limited and feels mostly shoe-horned in, to the point where it feels like it could have been eliminated and just focused on the rivalry between the two characters. I don’t know if that would have made the movie good, but it may have at least been more consistent.

Another thing that’s bonkers about this film is that, for some reason, it takes place at Christmas. Does it have anything to do with the holidays? No, not particularly. Are there any plot points centering on the holiday, such as a character trying to make it home? Nope. It’s simply just there.

It should also be noted that “Just Getting Started” has some sexist tones. For nearly the entire second half of the picture, the rivalry between Leo and Duke revolves around winning over Suzie. While Suzie does mention this fact in the movie, it’s really only brought up once.

Now’s a good time to take a look at the characters. Continuing with Suzie, Russo plays her as a predictable melting ice queen. She first arrives as a tough businesswoman who’s fed up with Duke’s antics, but this basically flips around by the second half, and she becomes a completely different character.

Duke and Leo, meanwhile, are mostly forgettable, as the Oscar winning actors seemed to just phone in their performances. Their relationship, whether rivalry or somewhat of a friendship, never really feels believable since neither actor immerses themselves in the role.

“Just Getting Started” is a waste of time, a film audiences can skip. As a comedy it’s not funny and for an action flick it’s not entertaining. 1 out of 5.

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Author: Matthew Liedke

I'm a reporter for the Bemidji Pioneer in Minnesota, and I also have a passion for the art of film. This passion led me to start writing about film in 2008. From 2008-2016 I wrote pieces at my own website, After the Movie Reviews. Then, from 2016-May 2018, my write-ups were featured on AreaVoices, a blog network run by Forum Communications Company. Today, I write film reviews and other pieces here on Word Press. More about me: I'm a 2009 graduate of Rainy River College and a 2012 graduate of Minnesota State University in Moorhead. At MSU, I studied journalism and film. Outside of movies, I enjoy sports, video games, anime and craft beers.

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