By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
It seems as if Hollywood can't get enough of body swap comedies. The latest one to hit the big screen is "Mack & Rita"
from director/actress Katie Aselton
(“Black Rock") and screenwriters/actors Madeline Walter (TV's "Brooklyn Nine-Nine") and Paul Welsh (TV's "Killing It").
"Mack and Rita" is similar to "13 Going on 30." Although it doesn't reinvent the body swap, rom-com, genre, it does bring some fun twists to it.
Elizabeth Lail (TV's "Ordinary Joe" and "Gossip Girl") plays an attractive 30-year-old writer named Mack Martin who is outgoing when she wants to be, but isn't always up to partying with her friends, especially her vivacious bestie, Carla (a funny Taylour Paige, "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom").
Mack would rather stay home or hang out with her stylish grandmother and her wine drinking friends which include Loretta DeVine, (TV's "P-Valley") and Lois Smith ("Uncle Frank"). She's just an old soul at heart. Much to the dismay of Mack's persnickety agent, Stephanie (Patti Harrison, "The Lost City"), Mack isn't thrilled about writing her next novel.
After being chided by Carla and her friends, Mack reluctantly agrees to go to Carla's bachelorette party in Palm Springs. While in town, Mack meets some shyster named Luka (Simon Rex, "Red Rocket") and she wanders into his regression pod/tanning tank and suddenly has an out of body experience.
She wakes up and surprisingly has turned into a 70-year-old version of herself, Aunt Rita (played delightfully by Diane Keaton, "Book Club 2: The Next Chapter").
Now, Rita/Mack is finally free to do what she wants without any judgements, and she loves it. She's so utterly likeable and spirited that even Mack's dog-sitter Jack (Dustin Milligan, TV's "Rutherford Falls") can't resist her charms.
Rita is truly living her best life. So much so, that she becomes a social media/Instagram sensation known by her legion of followers as Glammy Grammy.
Much of the fun in “Mack & Rita” comes from watching Keaton navigate through so many crazy situations. Yes, it's pure silliness, but Keaton sells it wholeheartedly. She also served as co-producer of the movie. Without her star presence, "Mack & Rita" likely wouldn't have even been made, but Keaton elevates everything she's in and makes it worthwhile. This quirky, funny comedy about being true to yourself regardless of age, is no exception.
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Watch This Trailer For "MACK & RITA"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), The American Film Institute (AFI), and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.