Lost in America (1985) / Comedy
MPAA Rated: R for language and mild sexuality (without a couple of F-words, it would easily be rated PG)
Running Time: 91 min.
Cast: Albert Brooks, Julie Hagerty, Garry Marshall, Michael Greene, Tom Tarpey, Donald Gibb, Joey Coleman
Director: Albert Brooks
Screenplay: Albert Brooks, Monica Mcgowan Johnson
David Howard (Albert Brooks, Modern Romance) and his wife Linda (Julie Hagerty, Reversal of Fortune) are stuck in a rut. Their jobs aren't panning out, they bought a new house that neither of them seem enthused about, and their marriage lacks spark or spontaneity. David blasts his boss at work when he finds he is being passed over for a promotion he has worked years for, gets fired, and sick of dealing with corporate bunk. He decides this is the break they have been waiting for, convincing Linda that they should "drop out of society", liquidate all of their assets, buy a Winnebago, and spend the rest of their lives traveling the country and "finding themselves".
Writer-director Albert Brooks gives us another clever and funny movie that amuses mostly through funny characterizations and odd situations. As is customary for a Brooks film, your mileage will vary as to how funny you find his nebbish, self-conscious humor. Still, there are undeniably funny bits, with commentary on yuppie-dom and the state of modern business that makes it a perfect example of the materialistic thinking that was so rampant in the Eighties.
By the end of the film, one realizes that there really is no easy way to happiness and meaningfulness, whether it is to live as a shallow, self-serving yuppie, or to see the world as a would-be hippie. Brooks wisely keeps his commentary under wraps, letting the characters and their perils dictate the course of the film, which doesn't always go exactly how you'd think.
I must state on a personal note, other critics have a tendency to rate his film very highly, and while I agree that it is a worthwhile movie, I also did not find it to be as side-splittingly hilarious as others. As I've always said, comedy is in the funny bone of the beholder, and Lost in America gave me much to smile about, but nothing that had me doubled over. All in all, a worthwhile comic diversion that most will like, and Brooks fans will probably love.
©2005 Vince Leo