Film Review: Sherman's Way

Cute fish-out-of-water comedy is a lightweight but inoffensive time-waster.

I want to live in Movie World. In Movie World, an anal-retentive East Coast Ivy Leaguer (Michael Shulman) decides to surprise his girlfriend by visiting her at her Napa Valley home, but discovers she’s found a new lover. Strapped for cash and abandoned, he decides to hitchhike to the airport, and in true Movie World fashion is picked up by a former Alpine Olympian (James LeGros) with absolutely no visible means of support, but plenty of “live for the moment” attitude.

Mr. Olympics agrees to take Ivy Boy to Beverly Hills so he can get an internship at a prestigious law firm, but first he has to stop for a couple of days to restore the sports car he’s driving, so he can give it to his son as a much-belated birthday present. So the odd couple wind up at the trailer home of D.J. (Enrico Colantoni), who, Thank God for Movie World, turns out to be a car restoration expert, gourmet chef and all-around cool guy, also with no visible means of support, but plenty of power tools and booze.

This being Movie World, it comes as no surprise that Mr. Anal begins to loosen up thanks to the example of his newfound buds, and along the way hits it off with the town beauty (Brooke Nevin), a willowy blonde artist who paints scenes on motorcycle gas tanks and is partial to skinny dipping.

It’s not all fun in Movie World, though: Mr. Olympics, who hasn’t seen his son in ages, is rebuffed by him. But Ivy Boy tells the former athlete to keep trying, that he has to prove to his son that he loves him. So as the two walk off into the sun, in a true Movie World ending, Ivy decides to hang around Napa for a while with his new friends—What a surprise!—and Mr. Olympics is determined to reconnect with his progeny.

The thing about Movie World is this: Even though it really doesn’t exist, and things like storylines can seem clichéd and awfully repetitive, it’s still a mighty reassuring place. That is, if the performers are amiable (like here), the picture doesn’t take itself too seriously (ditto) and the running time is short (yippee!). The Movie World of Sherman’s Way ain’t exactly art, but what the heck: It’s a darn pleasant, if no-brainer, way to spend 98 minutes.

Thank you, Movie World.