SYNOPSIS: Two movie producers who owe money to the mob set up their aging movie star for an insurance scam to try and save themselves. But they wind up getting more than they ever imagined.
Written and directed by George Gallo (The Whole Ten Yards, My Mom’s New Boyfriend), The Comeback Trail is a quirky comedy with a retro vibe. Max Barber (De Niro), is a second-rate movie producer, whose latest film is an extreme failure due to protesting nuns. Despite not being able to generate any money on the film, Barber owes his investor $350,000 for production costs of the flop. Enter mobster Reggie Fontaine (Freeman). Fontaine puts the pressure on Barber to repay the funds gangster-style. Yet, The Godfather this is not. The threats are silly at best. But ok, proceed.
“I swear I’m not lying,” Barber (De Niro) pleads. “OK, I’m lying a little bit but I’m a producer, that’s what I do and I will have your money in full. I promise you.”
“You have 72 hours,” Fontaine (Freeman) replies. “After that, I choke you to death.”
After a rather not so unfortunate accident, at least for Barber, Barber concocts an idea to cast washed up, suicidal, Wild West film star, Duke Montana (Tommy Lee Jones) and “accidentally” kill him off during production of a movie to receive the insurance funds and pay off his debt to Fontaine. That’s where the real “fun” begins. Unable to kill Montana in a basic stunt, Barber ups the stakes, putting Montana into increasingly dangerous situations. And as Montana survives stunt after stunt, and surprisingly, yet successfully, pulls them off, Barber unwittingly starts making the best movie of his career.
The Comeback Trail is light-hearted with a great cast. The writing is adequate with a few laugh-out-loud moments. The fun is in the retro aesthetic. Set in the 1970s, the set design, wardrobe and props are downright nostalgic. The views of the Hollywood sign, without all of the miles of clutter, just appear idyllic. It’s truly amusing to imagine L.A. in that manner. Overall, The Comeback Trail is a nice escape from all of the stress of 2020.
The Comeback Trail will be released in theaters nationwide on December 18, 2020. For more information, visit The Comeback Trail.