It’s exciting to see Shyamalan on such confident footing once more, all these years later.
The plot of Willie Nelson's "Honeysuckle Rose" is just a slight touch familiar, maybe because it's straight out of your basic country and western song. To wit: The hero, a veteran country singer still poised at the brink of stardom after 25 years on the road, won't listen to his wife's pleas that he leave the road and settle down with her and their son. Meanwhile, the band's guitarist, who is also the singer's best friend, retires. A replacement is needed, and the singer hires the best friend's daughter.
She is a shapely young lady who has had a crush on the singer since she was knee high to a grasshopper. Once they go out on the road again, the singer and the best friend's daughter start sleeping with one another. This situation causes anguish for the singer, the daughter, the best friend, the wife, the son and the band. But after going down to Mexico to slug back some tequila and think it over, the singer returns to his wife and the best friend's daughter wisely observes: "Anythang that hurts this many people can't be right."
This story is totally predictable from the opening scenes of "Honeysuckle Rose," which is a certain disappointment; the movie is sly and entertaining, but it could have been better. Still, it has its charms, and one is certainly the presence of Willie Nelson himself, making his starring debut at the age of 47 and not looking a day over 60. He's grizzled, grinning, sweet-voiced and pleasant, and a very engaging actor. (He gave promise of that with a single one-liner in his screen debut in "The Electric Horseman," expressing his poignant desire for the kind of girl who could suck the chrome off a trailer hitch.)
The movie also surrounds Nelson with an interesting cast: Dyan Cannon is wonderful as Willie's long-suffering wife, a sexy 40ish earth-woman with streaked hair and a wardrobe from L. L. Bean. She survives the test of her big scene, an archetypal C&W confrontation in which she charges onstage to denounce her husband and his new girlfriend.