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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 Susan Granger
1½ stars out of 4

Back in 1970, Jack Lemmon and the late Sandy Dennis made this movie about what went wrong for two midwestern visitors on a business trip to New York City. Written by Neil Simon and directed by Arthur Hiller, the misadventure worked because the comedy was firmly rooted in everyday reality. This new version, far from being a re-make, is a glossy, flashy star-vehicle for Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin, two clever sophisticates not even remotely believable as Nancy and Henry Clark from Ohio. Both Sam Weisman's direction and Marc Lawrence's script are forced beyond redemption. Looking impossibly young, trim and beautiful, albeit in soft-focus, Goldie plays Nancy, a middle-aged woman going through "empty-nest" blues after the departure of her youngest child (played by Oliver Hudson, her real-life son), while Steve's Henry is advertising executive who has just been fired. Faced with an uncertain future in suburbia, they're both edgy, which is why she decides to tag along when he goes to Manhattan for a job interview. Immediately, things go wrong. Their plane is diverted to Boston; their luggage gets lost; they miss the last New York-bound train; they wreck their rental car in the Fulton Fish Market; they fall for a street scam and get robbed by a con-man who claims to be Andrew Lloyd Webber. And that's just the beginning. Reunited for the first time since "HouseSitter" (1992), bubbly Goldie and resourceful Steve demonstrate their undeniable talent for physical comedy - and John Cleese hams it up as a supercilious hotel manager - but no one can save this painfully strained film from being a great disappointment. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "The Out-of-Towners" is genial but tiresome 4. It's a feeble downer.

Copyright 1999 Susan Granger

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