In Cinemas from November 25th
(Reviewed by John Glennie)
Lucy Skinner (Aubrey Plaza) has inherited her father’s publishing business but it seems like she doesn’t have the right flair for success. When reviewing existing contracts with her trusty assistant Rachel (Ellen Wong) they can only come up with one option. Lucy’s father set up a contract 40 years prior for two books, but the author has only provided one – which was a best seller.
Lucy and Rachel, after numerous attempts to phone him, finally go and visit Harris Shaw (Michael Caine) who is an aggressive, rude, obnoxious, alcoholic, cigar-smoking wreck. He tells the visitors to leave, in no uncertain terms! Lucy reminds him of his contractual obligation but all seems to be for nought.
Back in her office, trying to fend off an ever-present attempt to buy her out, Lucy is pleasantly surprised when Harris walks into her office mid-meeting and drops a manuscript on her desk. According to the contract, she is not allowed to edit the script but Harris is bound to tour the country with her to promote the book. This proves to be a disaster as the constantly drunk author refuses to read excerpts from his book but simply sits there saying “bull shite” repeatedly. This gains him a following but does not produce book sales.
The first half or more of the movie I found to be quite repetitive and boring. However, once it looks like the sales are booming, the film gets more interesting, and you start to see the true characteristics of the people involved and learn more about the past. Harris starts to appear almost human, and Lucy takes more of a liking to him. She is conflicted when the debt collector comes to Harris’ house threatening foreclosure if the money he borrowed against his house many years earlier is not repaid forthwith.
Looks like an unfitting end for a great author and a previously successful publisher. I found the end quite moving and the last half of the movie restored my interest in this comedy/drama. Definitely worth a visit to the cinema to see it on the big screen!
Best Sellers is now screening at Palace Nova Eastend and Palace Prospect.