Somewhat charming, unchallenging comedy

Ride the Eagle
Directed by Trent O'Donnell
Starring Jake Johnson, Susan Sarandon, D'Arcy Carden, J.K. Simmons, Luis Fernandez-Gil
In cinemas September 9

Ride the Eagle demonstrates the possible future of cinema. Filmed under strict COVID-19 protocols, I think there was only a single scene in which two actors were in the shot together.

This appears to be the first full-length feature for Australian director, Trent O’Donnell who is best known for his TV work on The Chasers War on Everything and Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

It is a laid back, feel good comedy/drama in which bumbling, eternal adolescent, marijuana-toking, unsuccessful musician, Leif (Jake Johnson) is compelled to undertake some personal development tasks set by his eccentric hippie mother, Honey (Susan Sarandon).

A twist is that Honey is actually dead. As part of her will her son has to complete her list of challenges in order to inherit her house.

So, Susan Sarandon’s performance is entirely post mortem, on video.

It is all played out in the beauty of the Yosemite wilderness of the northern USA, which is worth seeing all by itself.

The comedy is sweet and pretty uneventful but a thriller sub-plot in which J K Simmons contributes a stand out performance as a wildly threatening neighbour injects tension.

Ride the Eagle won’t stay in your memory for too long; it doesn’t pretend to be that important a film. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to watch.