Dustin Hoffman's corrosively twee directorial debut is pitched pointedly at the most undiscerning viewer. It is so blandly, tastefully mounted in every aspect, its effect is sedative, the intention possibly being to lull audiences into believing that they couldn't catch something like this most Sunday nights on ITV. The action, or lack thereof, occurs in a posh retirement home for musicians, among them a horde of classically-trained singers, few of whom can hold a tune. The cinematography is warm and glowing; the film aims to evoke the comfort and geniality of a retirement home, if not the smell. As adapted from a stageplay, the script takes the form of a progression of overcooked comic quips, each one in apparent anticipation of laughter from the stalls, although edited so closely together here, you wonder if the filmmakers were worried their audience might die before the credits roll (would that I could have). There's a nonsense plot employed periodically to no effect, concerning the impending closure of the home - a story even older than the cast - and the requisite sojourns into 'darker territory'© in fleeting reminders that old age isn't all as (un)funny as this. Of the principals, Billy Connolly has the most thankless task - he's the comic relief, and yet has no more than two amusing lines; he just pulls it off, by playing the role as himself, and finding humour where there was none. Maggie Smith, of course, has near-incomparable range as an actor, and an effortless glower that she's so good at, she could probably have it insured. Pauline Collins is adorable, and Tom Courtenay very effective. Too bad that the concept, the screenplay and the presentation of the film around them are so collectively poor.