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The Independent Critic

Peter Falk, Laura San Giacomo, Judge Reinhold, David Paymer
Jeff Hare
Stage Play by Allen Swift, Richard Marcus (Screenplay)
95 Mins.
FilmWorks Entertainment (DVD/VOD)
Movie Trailer; Cast & Crew Bios; Photo Gallery

 "Checking Out" Features Peter Falk At His Most Irritating 
A 2005 film given new life on DVD and VOD by FilmWorks Entertainment, Checking Out stars Peter Falk as an eccentric, celebrated stage actor named Morris Applebaum who summons his three grown children to his Manhattan apartment on the eve of his 90th birthday for a shindig no one will ever forget.


Because you'll want to forget it.

Based upon a stage play written by Allen Swift, Checking Out is advertised as a "multi-award winning independent film" directed by Jeff Hare. I found myself so curious by what "multi-award winning" that I headed myself over to IMDB to check it out for myself.

Let's see.

Checking Out did, in fact, pick up four festival awards including Best Actress (Laura San Giacomo) and Best Director (Jeff Hare) at Palm Beach International Film Festival, Best Picture and Best Screenplay (Richard Marcus) at Phoenix Film Festival and the Platinum Award at WorldFest Houston.

Hmm. Go figure.

To her credit, Laura San Giacomo is actually one of the best things about a film that features Peter Falk doing his best imitation of Peter Falk over-acting. There's an intentionality about the film that could work if it felt authentic, but far too often it feels histrionic. As will surprise no one, Morris intends to make this grand shindig his "final exit," not because he's terminally ill or even depressed - he simply wants to go out on his own terms. However, his family fully intends to have something to say about his plans.

I found myself really wanting to absolutely love Checking Out, mostly because I am a fan of Falk and the film also features a performance from Judge Reinhold, who hasn't been seen much as of late. The film also features a performance from David Paymer, an actor who can either be really, really good or, well, not.

Checking Out continues to be available from FilmWorks Entertainment. For more information, be sure to check out their website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic