Diamonds

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Diamonds

An affront to humanity masquerading as an inspirational road comedy, Diamonds (alternate title: Kirk Douglas Is Okay After His Debilitating Stroke: The Movie) carts out the 83-year-old screen legend as a paragon of strength and resiliency, only to undercut his dignity at every turn. Despite a speech impediment and diminished motor skills, Douglas looks mentally alert and tough as ever, but the filmmakers constantly emphasize his frailty; in the few scenes that don't riff on his tongue-stretching exercises, he collapses in a sobbing heap. The actor's real-life struggles are integrated into a threadbare premise which plops him in a convertible to Reno with son Dan Aykroyd and grandson Corbin Allred, searching for buried diamonds both real and metaphorical. The two fathers begin the journey resented for parental neglect: Douglas, a former welterweight champion, sacrificed his family for his sport, while Aykroyd, for his part, lost Allred in a custody battle. They eventually bond through various comic mishaps—including a wacky mix-up at the Canadian border—and nearly toxic levels of saccharine. The film's centerpiece, an endless bordello sequence with Lauren Bacall and Jenny McCarthy, serves up three generations of sexual humiliation, as the men (in ascending order of age) endure premature ejaculation, bondage, and erectile dysfunction. As entertainment, it rivals the Circle Of Shit in Salo: 120 Days Of Sodom. Fortunately, the rest of Diamonds is merely incompetent, a formulaic contraption that passes off bland homilies ("Never give up," "Live each new day as if it were the last") as precious nuggets of wisdom. But for his first role after three grueling years of recovery, Douglas deserved a much better comeback.

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