LOST IN AMERICA
(director/writer: Albert Brooks; screenwriter: Monica Johnson; cinematographer: Eric Saarinen; editor: David Finfer; music: Arthur B. Rubinstein; cast: Albert Brooks (David Howard), Julie Hagerty (Linda Howard), Michael Greene (Paul Dunn), Tom Tarpey (Brad Tooley), Raynold Gideon (Ray), Maggie Roswell (Patty), Hans Wagner (Hans, Mercedes Dealer), Garry Marshall (Casino boss), Donald Gibb (Ex-con), Ernie Brown (Pharmacist), Art Frankel (Employment Agent), Joey Coleman (Skippy); Runtime: 91; MPAA Rating: R; producer: Marty Katz; Warner Home Video; 1985)
“Amusing satire on yuppies having a mid-life crisis.“
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Amusing satire on yuppies having a mid-life crisis, spoiled only by a cop-out soft landing. Albert Brooks (“Modern Romance”/”The Muse”/”Real Life”)directs with an eye for showboating yuppies riding their mobile home on the open road like hipsters rode their bikes in Easy Rider. Brooks co-writes with Monica Johnson.
Well-heeled LA neurotic yuppie couple David (Albert Brooks) and Linda Howard (Julie Hagerty) are antsy at night about moving into a more spacious new $450,000 house in the same neighborhood. The next day David learns from his smarmy boss (Micheal Greene) at the ad agency that he didn’t get his promised promotion to vice president and will instead be transferred to NY to work on the new Ford account under the newly hired Brad (Tom Tarpey). This angers David, who tells his boss off and gets sacked. When David settles down in the aftershock of no longer having a cushy job after working there for eight years, he’s inspired to drop out of the rat race and do an Easy Rider thing. He convinces his wife to quit her personnel director job and they purchase a Winnebago to hit the road and go on an aimless journey across America. David says to Linda “We’ll be like Easy Rider with a nest egg!”
The couple, in a starting over gesture, head to Las Vegas to renew their wedding vows. While David naps in the hotel, the impulsive Linda, carried away in the moment of dropping out and living without responsibilities, blows their $150,000 nest egg at the roulette table. Unable to talk the casino manager (Garry Marshall) into returning the money in a good will public relation move, the broke couple pushes on to Hoover Dam. There the excitable David blows his stack, blaming Linda for killing their wanderlust dream.
Things settle down temporarily when the couple eventually stopover at a small town in Arizona and Linda works at a hotdog stand. David will soon get a job as a school crossing guard, after a bad experience with a job counselor. At last David realizes he’s not fit to be a free-spirit and puts a pin to his fantasy aspirations, as he plots his return to the status-conscious unfriendly business world he knows has a place for his talents.
How much you like this observant pic depends on your appreciation for Brooks as a ‘thinking man’s’ comedian.
REVIEWED ON 3/20/2011 GRADE: B+