Road trip movies have one thing in common -- the
concept of getting there. Perhaps that's why I
get antsy; awaiting the delayed arrival, most of the
movie seems ... well, pending. You might not expect a
movie named "Out of Towners" to spend a lot of time
on the road, but it does.
With their son off to Europe, Henry (Martin) and
Nancy (Hawn) can no longer ignore the creaky sounds
of their crusty rutty marriage. (Witnessing Goldie
and Steve bicker like your parents might make you
feel prematurely gray.) However, a 10 AM job
interview for Henry, sends this average Ohio couple
New York bound. A painful array of mishaps prevents
them from making the trip in a straight line.
Somewhere among the obstacles, they rediscover their
marriage. But it's the flea circus of calamity, that
brings us from the beginning of the film to the end
and balances us like a spinning plate on the pointed
edge of tedium.
That said, Steve and Goldie are brilliant and
hilarious, despite the working conditions. This is
the more wild and woolly Steve of "Planes, Trains and
Automobiles" from which "Out of Towners" borrows the
infamous car rental scene. A big Steve fan myself, I
enjoyed his performance in this picture. Goldie was
rock solid as well, and John Cleese is 100% stand-up
It's the star power that gravitates this rather
aggravating plot from the depths it would surely have
found without them. Seldom mediocre, "Out of Towners"
toggles between the tedious and the hilarious --
fortunately capturing the latter more often than the