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The Out-of-Towners

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: The Out-of-Towners

Starring: Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn
Director: Sam Weisman
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 91 Minutes
Release Date: April 1999
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Anne Meara, Sandy Baron, Ann Prentiss, Graham Jarvis, Ron Carey, Philip Bruns, Carlos Montalban, Billy Dee Williams, Paul Dooley

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

George and Gwen Kellerman are going through some big lifestyle changes. The last of their 2 kids just left home, leaving them with only each other to talk to. In addition, George has just lost his job -- a fact he's trying to hide from Gwen. "I have absolutely no idea what I'm going to do with the rest of my life," she confesses sadly over a lonely dinner with her husband. Although this may sound serious, THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS, a remake of the 1970 Neil Simon screenplay, is a comedy, albeit not a particularly funny one.

The Kellermans are played without much chemistry by Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, who deliver decidedly subpar performances. George is a no-nonsense ad executive, and Gwen, who used to be in advertising, is a hopelessly romantic type. She likes to wear sexy lingerie and light their bedroom with exotic candles. He likes to blow them out and go to sleep. Needless to say, their love life isn't.

When they go to New York for his job interview, the trip starts off inauspiciously with their plane being diverted to Boston. This is followed by a Cliff's Notes version of PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES that lands them broke and luggageless in New York.

As directed by Sam Weisman and written by Marc Lawrence, the movie is full of missteps and bad judgement. Too often in a hurry, few of the jokes are set up properly. Gwen, for example, plows into the Fulton Fish market with her car in the type of scene that you've seen a hundred times before, but it's edited so fast that you're never sure what is supposed to be funny about it. And when a starving George heads for the vending machine, you are so sure that it will jam that, when it does, the result is laugh free.

The story does have a few genuinely humorous moments. Low on blood sugar, their noses lead the Kellermans to a pile of pastries, but, before they can partake, they have to join the group hosting the meeting. It turns out to be a sexaholics group session, full of couples who confess they can't stop having sex constantly. George and Gwen accidentally come up with a few revelations themselves at the meeting.

Steve Martin does get to strut his stuff in an energetic sequence set in Central Park. George is given an hallucinogenic drug, which causes him to dance and sing to "The Age of Aquarius" as he chases his wife and other women.

Did I mention John Cleese's performance as the obsequious hotel manager, who is a secret cross-dresser? He likes to hide in unused hotel rooms and dance and lip-synch in stiletto heels. He seems to have dropped in from another movie, which isn't much better than this one. If you've seen the trailers to THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS, you've already seen most of the best parts of the story. The rest is just lame padding.

THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS runs 1:31. It is rated PG-13 for sexuality and drug references and would be fine for kids around 12 and up.

Copyright 1999 Steve Rhodes

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