The Courier-Mail

A prop­erty con­demned

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It is hard to ex­tract much of a high old time from a pro­duc­tion like 5 Flights Up when the stakes in­volved are so ex­ceed­ingly low.

Will age­ing mar­ried cou­ple Alex (Mor­gan Free­man) and Ruth (Diane Keaton) sell their mil­lion-dol­lar Brook­lyn apart­ment in time to whack their money down on that mil­lion­dol­lar Man­hat­tan crash-pad they’ve been eye­ing off?

And if that ain’t enough, will their el­derly pet pooch Dorothy — even older than its own­ers in dog-years — re­turn to her adorable tail-wag­ging ways af­ter a big op­er­a­tion on her arthritic lit­tle legs?

Yes, the care fac­tor when it comes to 5 Flights Up is mad­den­ingly mild.

In fact, there hasn’t been a movie so com­pre­hen­sively un­in­volv­ing since 2008’s Flash

Of Ge­nius, a baf­fling biopic of (I’m not mak­ing this up) the man who in­vented the in­ter­mit­tent wind­shield wiper.

To be fair, the inanity and in­er­tia run­ning ram­pant in

5 Flights Up would be al­most for­giv­able if a smidgen of cast­ing chem­istry could have been cap­tured while the cam­eras rolled.

To be blunt, it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to buy into Free­man and Keaton as con­vinc­ingly cud­dle­some soul­mates.

While it is re­fresh­ing to see an in­ter­ra­cial cou­ple pre­sented so mat­ter-of-factly on screen — Hol­ly­wood still has a lot of ground to make up on this front — the lack of a cred­i­ble con­nec­tion be­tween the two lead ac­tors kills any chance of a win­ning out­come here.

When he isn’t con­trac­tu­ally bound to chip in with his trade­marked voice-of-God nar­ra­tion, Free­man’s job here is to shake his head, twin­kle an eye and make a be­mused com­ment about how crazy the NYC real es­tate scene can be.

His po­lite, seen-it-all-be­fore pes­simism is cornily coun­tered by Keaton’s chip­per, never-seen-that-be­fore re­ac­tions to ev­ery­thing hap­pen­ing around her.

It is hard to be­lieve two peo­ple like this would ever find them­selves in the same room for five min­utes, let alone a mar­riage that has lasted 40 years plus change.

So with Alex (the good­na­tured griz­zly bear of this tale) ef­fec­tively can­celled out by Ruth (go­ing all fluffy bun­nies at the drop of the hat), there is more dead air in this movie than an un-tuned ra­dio.

The flash­backs to when Alex first met Ruth — and plenty of ir­ri­tat­ing in­ter­jec­tions from Cyn­thia Nixon as the ven­dors’ zany sales agent — en­sures ev­ery­thing re­mains static.

 ?? 5 Flights Up. ?? Diane Keaton and Mor­gan Free­man in
5 Flights Up. Diane Keaton and Mor­gan Free­man in

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