In the Diane Keaton comedy “Mack & Rita,” the 30-year-old Mack (Elizabeth Lail) has always felt like an old soul. Recently, tuckered out by the demands of being a social-media influencer and hurt by not making headway on her second novel, she just wants a rest. At her bestie Carla’s bachelorette jaunt to Palm Springs, Calif., Mack repairs to a retrofitted tanning bed advertised by a seeming charlatan named Luka (Simon Rex) as a life-regression pod.
She emerges 40 years older, played by Keaton. (Wiser remains to be seen.) Keaton brings her affection for layered couture and gift for goofiness to the newly arrived Aunt Rita.
Lessons will be learned, and there is plenty of slapstick. Although no relation to Buster, this Keaton has grown increasingly game for all manner of pratfall. Bring on the Pilates contraption! Pour the magic mushroom tea!
Directed with some unexpected beats by Katie Aselton, the comedy captures a bit of the esprit de girlfriends of HBO’s “Insecure,” but borrows too giddily from the Nancy Meyers rom-com catalog of upscale homes.
Keaton’s zaniness is balanced by Taylour Paige’s authenticity as Carla, whose friendship is nearly unflappable, and Dustin Milligan as Mack’s neighbor, dog-sitter and presumptive love interest, Jack. The comedy enjoys teasing Rita and Jack’s chemistry, as do the wine-tippling friends of Carla’s mother, Sharon (Loretta Devine, joined by Wendie Malick, Lois Smith and Amy Hill). The pleasure the klatch take in each other and the advice they offer Rita suggests that the best bridge between youth and growing gray — besides self-acceptance — might be lasting friendships.
Mack & Rita
Rated PG-13 for some drug references, sexual friskiness and language. Running time: 1 hour 35 minutes. In theaters.
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