"The Out of Towners"
Review written by: Alex Sandell

What's the story?

A middle-aged couple feels their marriage is empty after their only son heads off to college.  Another dilemma presents itself when it is revealed that Steve Martin is out of a job, and his only hope is to land an advertising gig in the Big Apple.   Unfortunately (mostly for the audience), many obstacles get in his, and his wife's (Goldie Hawn) way.   Will he get to his job interview on time, or will he end up locked in the slammer?   Will he find a way to stay overnight in the grand motel he made reservations at, or will his credit card not work?  Will Goldie Hawn ever take off that annoying outfit, including the ugliest pair of heels that I've ever seen?  Will John Cleese wind up feeling ashamed over ripping off his old "Fawlty Towers" character, while bringing nothing else to the film?  After 100 minutes of this crap, will you even care?  Probably not.

So how is it? (Get to the point, already)

I had high hopes for this movie.  It looked a little like "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," which is one of my all-time favorite comedies, and you never seem to go wrong with a "fish out of water" type film.  I'm a big fan of Steve Martin, who's been in a long string of really crappy movies lately, and this one looked as though it was going to set him back on course.  At least it would be better than "Sgt. Bilko," right?

Wrong.

This is "Father of the Bride" without the bride.  A contrived mid-life crisis, low on humor, cliched and, to be perfectly honest, a comedic crime (brought to us by the same genius who directed high-quality fare such as "The Mighty Ducks" and "George of the Jungle"). Steve Martin hasn't performed worse in his life.  Yet, through some miracle of craptitude, Goldie Hawn manages to make him look like a God.  

Something's definitely wrong here.

Every twist and turn is expected.  Every joke is milked for all that it's worth, and the whole thing is so staged that I expected to see cue cards somewhere in the background.  This "shoulda been a made for TV movie" is such a disaster, that the few times I did find myself laughing, I was embarrassed. 

The audience I saw "The Out of Towners" with was so quiet you could have heard crickets chirping.   The only sounds heard were a couple of teenage girls, seemingly unaware that they were watching a movie, giggling and chatting over some guy they had a crush on.   Thank heaven for teenage girls, I guess, because they provided the only entertainment I had during the tedious hour and a half I had to sit and stare at two washed-up old people trying to be funny.

What does it make you feel like eating?

Goldie Hawn's ugly golden heels, just so she can't wear them, any longer.

What are you selling us here???

A kinder, gentler New York, where there's no traffic, and acid trips last only until they are no longer needed in a particular scene.

If it won an Oscar, what would it be?

"The 'Maybe You'll Be Funny Again In The Next Life' Award" - Steve Martin

On a scale of 1-10?

3 (For the few generic laughs I got out of it, and those chatty teenage girls who kept me awake.)

Agree? Disagree? Wanna have cyber-sex? Email me at alex@juicycerebellum.com

Text (Copyright) 1999 Alex Sandell [All Rights Reserved]. If you copy this, without my permission, or even copy the "juicy" format, I'll send NATO after you!

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