It took brass hubcaps to make Bonneville, a midlife-chick-road-trip movie starring a ‘66 Pontiac convertible and a trio of middle-aged driving girlfriends in cool sunglasses, and not once have the gals give props to Thelma & Louise. Surely the ladies saw that flick back in 1991, even in Pocatello, Idaho, where the road begins? Maybe not: This idling feature by first-timers Christopher N. Rowley (he directed) and Daniel D. Davis (he wrote) stalls in a generic crossroads of AARP life issues, including widowhood and the pursuit of postmenopausal sex. And that’s despite the best efforts of Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, and Joan Allen to rally the More-reading troops to whom the movie is exclusively pitched. Lange plays a fresh widow (with a touch of the bohemian about her) delivering her husband’s ashes to her angry adult stepdaughter (Christine Baranski?! On what planet?) in Santa Barbara; widowed Bates does the earthy jokes; Allen is saddled with the character of a prim Mormon wife who blossoms with the help of a Las Vegas slot machine.
Ladies! Thelma and Louise drove a ‘66T-bird, remember?! They picked up a young male hitchhiker 17 years before you did, and they too, um, interacted with a trucker and admired magnificent American sunsets — is it coming back to you? Nope, it’s not, which is exactly why the tires are so low on this creaky vehicle. C