What begins with dialogue and acting as banal as an after school special somehow manages to morph into a completely different animal about 45 minutes into the action. Some particularly painful flashback scenes early on may leave some viewers twitching in their seats, however, as the movie wears on it becomes surprisingly endearing.

Christopher Plummer is remarkable as Flash, a curmudgeonly bitter soul and retired Hollywood gaffer who befriends Cameron Kincaid (Michael Angarano), a troubled teenager with dreams of becoming a famous director. One might have to suspend their belief quite a bit to believe that Cameron can manage such crimes as grand theft auto, assault and helping Flash free dogs from animal control without more than a mere slap on the wrist.

Ultimately, he finds his focus in creating a film for a scholarship contest. With Flash’s assistance, he assembles a rag tag crew of forgotten Hollywood behind-the-scene greats, and in his crew’s experiences Cameron develops a far nobler goal of using his film to expose the abuses within the elder care system.

One of the film’s other great performances is that of M. Emmet Walsh, who plays Mickey, a washed up screenwriter who once penned some of the greatest movies of all time.

Man in the Chair delivers a powerful message without forgetting to also deliver on laughs; you just have to make it through the opening scenes.

Grade: C+

Man in the Chair releases in select theaters Dec. 14.