Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Ocean's 65+

From the way they huddle together in confidential little all-male groups, they could be planning a daring bank raid – or how to rob an unscrupulous casino-owner of the ill-gotten gains that rightfully belong to the little guy.

In other words, the very stuff that light-hearted, good-natured Hollywood block buster serials are made of.

Trouble is, most of them bear a much stronger resemblance to Elliott Gould than they do to George Clooney or Brad Pitt. They're those gangs of granddads you see at parks or beaches, keeping a wary eye on their grandchildren cavorting around. Silver-haired and sporting proud pot bellies, but mostly hale and hearty despite the occasional elevated cholesterol or teetering blood sugar levels, they are the appointed guardians of the future generation when Mum & Dad are at work and the kids are shooed out of the house so granny can prepare the midday meal.

In the summer, they’re easiest to spot at the seaside. As the youngsters splash about like rampant dolphins in the surf, a gaggle of grandfathers forms a few feet away, chest-high in the waves, to catch up with the latest gossip and moan about “her indoors”.

Throughout the other seasons of the year they can be found at parks and playgrounds - so long as the weather is fine enough to let the offspring out for their ration of fresh air - gathered in intimate knots by the swings, keeping half an eye on the sprogs as they get caught up in a passionate debate about the merits of rival football teams or political parties.

They go through all the motions of being less than happy about their role as senior bodyguards for the youngest generation. But the truth is that, though they carry a few centuries of experience on their collective backs and have more than their fair share of aches and pains, they would gladly walk through fire and gargle razorblades for the grandchildren they moan about and bark orders to.

Despite their carefully cultivated tough image, they’re biggest push-overs out - classic soft-centres with a deceptively crusty exterior. And their grandkids know it. It’s no coincidence that most children follow the mantra of “If Dad says no, I ask Grandpa”.

Now, the way that Clooney & Co have been churning out Ocean sequels over the past few years, we may be treated to the sight of a gang of granddads on the silver screen in ‘Ocean’s 65+’ in a couple of decades. And it’s a movie I would gladly see (especially if reminiscent of Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau in ‘Grumpy Old Men’).

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