As 2013 at the movies kicks off with its customary whimper, you can always catch up on under-the-radar 2012 films at the bargain theaters. ---
The only new arrival this weekend is Robot & Frank, director Jake Schreier's low-key spin on the mismatched buddy dramedy. The twist is that the buddies aren't both human: Frank (Frank Langella) is a veteran cat burglar dealing with the early symptoms of dementia, and the robot (voiced by Peter Sarsgaard) is the caretaker left with him by his concerned son (James Marsden). Langella's curmudgeonly charms help elevate the film, as the plot turns towards Frank's attempts to use the robot as an accomplice for his ongoing thievery. But while there are some effective moments capturing the difficult relationships between adults and their aging parents, the narrative ultimately seems more interested in whimsy than insight; it's a movie more interested in being pleasant than being real.