JUST GETTING STARTED [PG-13] C+
Ron Shelton (writer-director of films like “Bull Durham” and “White Men Can’t Jump”) as a filmmaker explores relationship dynamics between men (a charming gallery of rogues and con artists) who become buddies, a distinction that is decidedly different that friends or even “brothers” (beyond the bond of blood), and sometimes find themselves in some degree of conflict due to romantic possibilities. In most cases, the women caught between these men rarely ever become a true wedge driving them apart; in fact, the women often serve as a glue, binding the men closer together. “Just Getting Started” spies on a smooth talking former mob associate in the witness protection program (Morgan Freeman) and an unrelated retired FBI agent (Tommy Lee Jones) in their twilight years who are not going gently into that good night. They bicker and banter, daring to duel for the affections of a new player (an always game Rene Russo) at the luxury retirement villa where they reside, but there’s never a compelling threat to scare either man or the audience. I would argue that such a lack of tension has always been the main problem with Shelton’s efforts. He’s got a great sense for complex character interplay, but the stakes prevent his films from scoring a big win.