Movie News & Reviews

Former friendship renewed in ‘Land Ho!’

On the road … in Iceland. Land of geysers and hot springs and black sand beaches and rugged spectacular scenery. A place for off-the-beaten-track wandering.

Just the place in “Land Ho!” for a couple of 60-something fellows looking for a bit of adventure. But not too much; they like their creature comforts and Iceland is pretty civilized.

The fellows are Mitch (Earl Lynn Nelson), an American surgeon from the South, and Colin (Paul Eenhoorn), an Australian widower who was married to Mitch’s ex-wife. They were buddies once, but then fell out of touch. Mitch, an outgoing live wire, seeks to get their friendship back on track and so springs for two first-class tickets to Iceland for a vacation. Colin, a reticent man, is dubious, but Mitch’s ebullient personality is such that there is no resisting his invitation.

Written and directed by Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz, this genial picture is study in contrasts. Mitch is a total extrovert whose unfiltered R-rated conversation leaves Colin alternately abashed and amused. Colin has been grieving the death of his first wife and the collapse of his second marriage, and the change of scene and change of tone imposed by his one-time brother-in-law gradually revives him.

Together, they soak in the scenery (stunningly captured by director of photography Andrew Reed), smoke the occasional joint, squabble now and then, and muse at the passage of time as they look back at lives that didn’t turn out the way either expected.

The chemistry between the two leads is engaging. Nelson’s Mitch can be irritating and gets on Colin’s nerves from time to time, but his extrovert’s gusto is contagious. Eenhoorn brings an understated wry quality to his performance that nicely counterbalances Nelson’s unflagging bonhomie.