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The Out-Of-Towners (A PopEntertainment com Movie Review)

Updated: May 15, 2023


Starring Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn, John Cleese, Mark McKinney, Oliver Hudson, Valerie Perri, Steve Mittleman, Randall Arney, Carlease Burke, Christopher Durang, Mo Gaffney, Josh Mostel, Gregory Jbara, Cynthia Nixon, Joseph Maher, Ernie Sabella, William Deull, Joe Grifasi and Rudolph W. Giuliani.

Screenplay by Marc Lawrence.

Directed by Sam Weisman.

Distributed by Paramount Pictures. 90 minutes. Rated PG-13.

I had high hopes coming into this film. It had a good pedigree. It was based on a terrific script by Neil Simon and a terrific film from the 70s. It has three of the best comic actors in the world in Steve Martin, Goldie Hawn and John Cleese. So why am I so unmoved by this film?

For one thing, the harsh immediacy of the original has been replaced by a loping pace where no one seems to know exactly where they're going. Martin as always has a terrific slow burn and Hawn is appropriately ditzy, but unlike Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis in the first film, you never really feel they are in any kind of real danger. Cleese's character, while funny, is a tired cliché, the snooty desk clerk who has a sordid secret. Yawn!

There were so many outrageous plot holes and so much weak plotting. Like how could Martin and Hawn know that the mayor of New York was in a crowded room? Particularly when they had lights shining in their eyes and they ran away in a matter of seconds? Why have a major subplot about their daughter using their credit cards but not show the daughter until the last scene where all is forgiven? Would Cleese's character really be dumb enough to allow himself to be blackmailed with the threat of jail for a bout of transvestitism in the privacy of his own room? If the screenwriter can't be bothered to care about this story, why should I? (4/99)

Alex Diamond

Copyright ©1999 All rights reserved. Posted: April 2, 1999.


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