Review: Wild Oats

Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange in Wild Oats

Wild Oats stars Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange in a comedy about living it up while you can. It was funny, but the best part of the movie was watching Shirley MacLaine and Jessica Lange have a great time together.

The plot involved a mistake on an insurance check when Eva’s (MacLaine) husband died. What should have been a check for $50,000 was for $5,000,000. That pesky decimal point.

Eva and her best friend Maddie (Lange) deposit the check with much trepidation. Then Eva finds out that Maddie is sick. The illness is unspecified but serious. Eva asks Maddie what she would do if the money were hers and Maddie says go to a beautiful island and enjoy life.

And they’re off to the Canary Islands. They stay in the priciest suite. They hit all the expensive shops. They order champagne for breakfast.

They meet Chandler (Billy Connolly) and Chip (Jay Hayden), make a killing at Blackjack, have sex, get conned, chase down the con men, and win with wine.

In the meantime the insurance guy Vespucci (Howard Hesseman) and Eva’s daughter Crystal (Demi Moore) arrive in the Canary Islands, too. Vespucci wants to put Eva in jail so he can keep his job. Crystal wants her mother to go home and behave herself.

Wild Oats is a comedy so everything works out in the end, with some surprises thrown in for good measure.

It was a silly movie in a lot of ways. Demi Moore’s character was a waste of talent. MacLaine and Lange were golden together, brilliantly making lemonade out of the lemons in life. Howard Hesseman is always perfection. They are all so good at what they do and I’m so glad they continue to find films like Wild Oats that help them keep doing it. The comedic timing among this cast is on some rarefied level that only comes with years of training. There were dozens of minor characters who came in, did something funny, and left.

Honestly, Wild Oats made me smile and there are days when that is so important and needed.

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