LOST IN AMERICA (1985) 

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Albert Brooks
Julie Hagerty
Sylvia Farrel
Michael Greene
Garry Marshall
Maggie Roswell
Hans Wagner

Albert Brooks



Time: 91 mins.
Rating: R
Genre: Comedy

Even if you're not a huge fan of Albert Brooks, LOST IN AMERICA is a comedy classic not to be missed. Nobody does neurotic and angry better. No matter how many times I see this movie, it still makes me laugh out loud. The film relies more on situational humor than one-liners, which is why I like it so much. It's hard to find a comedy these days that uses intelligent dialogue instead of fart humor to draw a laugh. That isn't to say that Brooks doesn't throw his whole body into his work. He's not Steve Martin funny when it comes to physical comedy, but he definitely uses his body to accentuate his mood, which through most of LOST IN AMERICA is despair and anger. I have yet to figure out why watching someone else's misery is so amusing, but, as this film shows, it just is. The film opens with David and Linda Howard, the ultimate yuppies, getting ready to move into a brand new house, made possible because of David's upcoming promotion. David is convinced that making senior partner will change their lives. Linda believes it will become more of the same, just with a bigger mortgage. When things don't work out as they plan – David is passed over because he's "too talented" to become management – they decide to drop out of society and roam America...just like in EASY RIDER.

Too uptight and ambitious, it's pretty obvious they aren't exactly the type of people who will succeed at this venture. By liquidating all their assets, they realize they're able to drop out, but with enough money to be comfortable for quite a long time. So they buy an RV and head for Las Vegas to start their new life by getting remarried. Sin City is not a place for the naive and their plans quickly start to unravel. One thing after another goes wrong, giving Brooks ample room to do what he does best – bitter sarcasm at high volumes. He also has an immensely funny scene with Garry Marshall, who plays the head of the casino where they spend the night that is a comic joy to behold. You will never think of the Desert Inn the same way again. Or the words "nest egg." The film gets a little slow towards the end when the couple is trying to get their lives and marriage back on the right track. One of the film's most poignant scenes has David being ridiculed at the unemployment office for having had a real career. You know he'd reach across the desk and throttle his persecuter, if only he didn't need a job so desperately.

Out of emotional pain comes biting humor and Brooks is a master at it. By the end of the film, I learned a very valuable lesson – be careful what you wish for. They wanted to drop out of society and they couldn't have done a better job if they tried. I happen to be a very big fan of Brooks' films. They're always different, well-written and funny. Though I enjoyed DEFENDING YOUR LIFE and MOTHER, LOST IN AMERICA is definitely his best film. It's just chock-filled with tiny, little perfect film moments. Brooks and Hagerty actually complement each others talents extremely well. She does a great job as the sweet wife with a backbone of steel. Her best moment in the film is at the blackjack table screaming "22, 22, 22." Most of the other characters in the film are just there to help the story along. This is Brooks and Hagerty's show and they deliver the goods. LOST IN AMERICA is a great comedy that you can watch over and over again. I know I have.

"You are no longer allowed to use the words 'nest' and 'egg' in the same sentence."

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