A Man Called Otto (2022)

With Hanks, it’s hard to be ‘Otto’-immune

Tom Hanks gets in touch with his inner Larry David as the curmudgeonly sexegenarian at the heart of Marc Forster’s lukewarm English-language remake of Hannes Holm’s Oscar-nominated “A Man Called Ova.”

Hanks is in full get-off-my-lawn mode as Otto Anderson, the self-appointed caretaker of his quaint Pittsburgh apartment complex. When he’s not berating his fellow tenants for not closing the gate or poor parking etiquette, the recently widowed retiree is busy attempting to off himself in an effort to hasten his reunion with his recently departed wife, Sonya.

We know he’ll never succeed, simply because Otto is Tom Hanks. This is also why we never buy Otto’s perpetual grouchiness. Yet, despite the unrelentingly obvious script by David Magee (“Finding Neverland”), anyone with half a heart will succumb to Hanks’ affecting turn.

You come for him, but you leave marveling over his marvelous unknown co-star, Mariana Treviňo. She’s Marisol, Otto’s new South American neighbor, a woman so infused with sunshine and optimism, you want to believe such a saint walks the Earth. Not even her dopey husband, or a fourth pregnancy can dampen her spirits. But, might Otto?

The movie spends an inordinate amount of time reminding us she’s not Otto-immune, as she blithely endures his various protests. Deep down, she knows he’s a good person. Unfortunately, so do we. So, Forster (“Monster’s Ball”) expects us to wait more than two hours to witness the transformation we’ve foreseen since the opening minutes.

What keeps you sticking around is the intoxicating chemistry between Hanks and Treviňo. They are an endearing pair. Oh, and be sure to look for Hanks’ son, Truman, portraying Otto in the film’s flashbacks, which incrementally reveal the root cause of the old coot’s misery. Like everything in “Otto,” young Hanks is prepackaged for maximum crowd-pleasing pleasure. Call me a sucker, but I fell for it. So might you.

Movie review

A Man Called Otto

Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material, language and suicide attempts

Cast: Tom Hanks, Mariana Treviňo and Truman Hanks

Director: Marc Forster

Writer: David Magee

Runtime: 126 minutes

Grade: B-

Leave a Reply