03/20/1995 at 01:00 AM EST
Peter Falk, D. B. Sweeney, Julianne Moore, Ellen Burstyn
By the maudlin end of this putative comedy, so many body organs of various description have come into play that the movie no longer has room on its sleeve to wear its heart.
The film begins as a kind of antic paean to the supposedly hilarious rambunctiousness of the aged. Said hilarity is embodied by Falk as a Polish immigrant baker in Pittsburgh; his geriatric wit and wisdom surface mostly in his argument-settling line, "End of conversation!" It is Falk's relationship with his orphaned grandson (Sweeney) that fuels the plot.
The grandpa is a clunky stereotype, with every "Polish" trait in the cliché handbook—he's even an avid bowler. But anybody's take on Falk will depend on how well he likes Falk's Columbo. Sweeney whines as much as a Northern Exposure character, while Moore, as his social worker love interest, is self-righteous but intolerant. (PG)