Tomp Pelphrey and Melissa Archer in "Excuse Me For Living"...

Tomp Pelphrey and Melissa Archer in "Excuse Me For Living" directed by Ric Klass. Credit: Handout

There's an engaging energy to "Excuse Me for Living," writer-producer-director Ric Klass' adaptation of his novel, and a dogged insistence among its cast to convincingly deliver dialogue that doesn't always deserve it. But despite the shagginess of the story and the sets (it was shot in Great Neck), "Excuse Me for Living" is a solid showcase for its younger talent and an off-the-leash moment for some of the older stars, including Christopher Lloyd, at his maddest, and Jerry Stiller, not screaming.

The centerpiece of the story is Dan, played by Tom Pelphrey (best known for "Guiding Light," and "As The World Turns"), who seems to be channeling Val Kilmer in "Tombstone" or Robert Downey Jr. in "Zodiac." Dan has been turned in to the Live Free or Die rehab clinic after one more suicide attempt, and his doctor, Jacob (Robert Vaughn), has put Dan on medications that will make him sick if he indulges -- which happens during an encounter at a party with the bodacious divorce attorney Charlotte (Ewa Da Cruz). Charlotte is also best friends with Jacob's daughter, Laura (Melissa Archer), who also attends the parties that are thrown just walking distance from the clinic.

The ultimate destination is a Dan-Laura collision, but a lot of leeway need be given "Excuse Me for Living," which includes the idea that Jacob would bring Dan into his encounter group for elderly men. Members of the group include the salty Morty (Stiller), and Barry (James McCaffrey), a classics professor and premature geezer, who is ultimately wooed by Charlotte (an aspect that will give hope to certain male viewers over the age of 40). But like Lloyd, who plays the clinic's leading loon, "Excuse Me" is much more about making fun than making sense.

PLOT Self-destructive rich kid finds himself through love and therapy, not necessarily in that order. Unrated (language, adult content)

CAST Tom Pelphrey, Robert Vaughn, Jerry Stiller, Melissa Archer, Christopher Lloyd, Ewa Da Cruz, James McCaffrey



BOTTOM LINE Engaging enough, despite, at times, not making a lot of sense.

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