"Lost in America" is a very funny comedy from Albert Brooks (who also
made 1996's "Mother"), about an unhappy married couple (Brooks and Julie
Hagerty) in their 30's who are stuck in high-paying jobs that are going
nowhere, and feel like their lives are just passing them by. When Brooks
finds out that the execute vice manager position has been passed over
him to another worker, they decide to quit their jobs, sell everything
they own, purchase a motor home, and set out on the open road together.
It's what they've always wanted to do, and besides, they are hoping it
will save their marriage. Predictably, things immediately don't go as
planned when they stop in Las Vegas to renew their wedding vows and
Hagerty loses all of their money gambling.
"Lost in America" isn't necessarily an original film, and it knows it
isn't (there are various references to it being exactly like "Easy
Rider", and it is very similar to the delightful 1950's comedy, "The
Long Long Trailer," starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz), but what
saves it from being completely cliched is the highly enjoyable and witty
screenplay by Albert Brooks and Monica Johnson. The dialogue, as in all
of Brooks' films, is sharp and funny, and he and Hagerty make a great
team. In fact, they are so charismatic together, I'm surprised they've
never reteamed for a film. Now, that's an idea!
"Lost in America" was so good throughout that the film easily had the
potential to be a great comedy, like the similar "National Lampoon's
Vacation," but it feels much too short, and just when you think it
should be hitting the 3/4 mark, it ends, as if they forget to film a
conclusion. When the end credits started to roll, I was disappointed
because I felt like there was so much more that could have been done,
Nonetheless, Albert Brooks' "Lost in America" is so entertaining the
whole way through that it certainly should not be missed. It's a
perfectly good way to spend an hour-and-a-half.
Copyright © 1998 Dustin Putman