Thursday, November 10, 2016

Movie Review: "The Out-of-Towners" (1999)

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Director: Sam Weisman
Year: 1999
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

After losing his job, Henry Clark (Steve Martin) has an important job interview in New York City. He hopes to land the job so he won't have to tell his wife (Goldie Hawn) he was fired, but when she decides to go with him on his trip, the whole trip turns into one big misadventure after another.

"The Out-of-Towners" is directed by Sam Weisman and is written by Marc Lawrence. It is a remake of the 1970 Neil Simon film of the same name. This version stars a reunited Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn as Henry and Nancy Clark, a couple from Ohio who go to New York because Henry has an important job interview. They are also going through a rough patch full of dramatic life changes as Henry has recently been fired from his job of 23 years and their youngest child has just left home to study abroad. In an effort to get away from the sadness at home, Nancy decides to surprise Henry and tag along on his journey to New York. From the second they leave their home, their trip to the Big Apple is one gigantic disaster after another as the entire few days becomes one messy series of screw ups, misadventures, and of course, unintended self-discovery.

Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn have worked together in the past on the film "HouseSitter," where they had surprisingly good chemistry with one another in an offbeat, unconventional romantic comedy. Unfortunately, "The Out-of-Towners" is a huge step down from that rather hilarious and wonderful collaboration. This is, for the most part, a painfully unfunny film. The vast majority of the comedy relies on horribly forced slapstick, none of which is able to garner even the slightest chuckle as the gags are all contextually terrible and terribly timed. There is an occasional witty line that garners a laugh here and there, but these instances are few and far between. Most of the film consisted of us wondering what the hell happened to Steve Martin. If it weren't for John Cleese, there would be almost no laughs to be had in this slow and long 90 minute slog. Cleese has the single best moment in the entire film and many other smaller laughs are derived from not just his stodgy attitude, but his 'freaky' bedroom manner as well.

We love Steve Martin, but he has had some huge hits and misses late in his career. "The Out-of-Towners" is certainly a big ol' fat miss. Hawn and Martin try too hard to be hilarious in their zaniness and nothing clicks or feels natural at all. Almost every joke and situation seems cheaply manufactured, which shows in a glaringly obvious manner in the final product. You're better off watching "HouseSitter" if you have to watch a Martin/Hawn collaboration.

My Rating: 2.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 2/10
IMDB's Rating: 5.7/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 16%
Do we recommend this movie: AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE!!

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