The Out Of Towners

The Out Of Towners


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Henry and Nancy are at that stage in their marriage when sex takes a back seat to fudge cake. What they need is a refresher course in Cardigans Are It: a tantric reassessment of erotica for the over-secure. The film is made for a Readers Digest generation. Based on the Jack Lemmon/Sandy Dennis 1970 movie about an Ohio couple coming to the Big Apple and letting things happen to them - blizzard, transit strike, hotel cockup, mugging - this Nineties version, in which Marc Lawrence undoes Neil Simon's original script and replaces it with marshmallow, reunites Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, last seen as an item in the sit-comedic toadstool, Housesitter.

Harry's in advertising. He could be in plastic shower curtains for all it matters. Nancy's got the "I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with the rest of my life" blues, since their student son headed off to Europe. Both suffer early middle-aged angst, certain that the rest of the world have written them off as useless wrinklies - if they haven't already, they will later.

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Harry flies to New York for a job interview. Nancy joins him. What else can she do? They experience a Trains, Planes & Automobiles revival, in which all forms of transport gang up against them. Finally, when they arrive, a series of predictable mishaps mishap and they find themselves being booted out of their hotel by Monty Python's dead-parrot-fancier (John Cleese). The sight gags are myopic, the running gags lame. Cleese does a dance, dressed as Aunt Edwina, which is startlingly embarrassing. Martin goes through his repetoire of funny walks and golly gosh facials. Hawn plays Nancy in a neurotic knockabout style, occasionally reverting to flirtatious come-ons when required. Not much has changed.

"If you're over 40, you're not cutting edge," Henry complains. "You've never been cutting edge," Nancy quips. It doesn't get much sharper.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The Out Of Towners packshot
Remake of Neil Simon's comedy about the misadventures of an married couple in the middle of a midlife crisis.
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Director: Sam Weisman

Writer: Marc Lawrence, Neil Simon

Starring: Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn, John Cleese, Mark McKinney, Oliver Hudson, Valerie Perri, Steve Mittleman, Randall Arney, Carlease Burke, William Duell, J.P. Bumstead

Year: 1999

Runtime: 90 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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