Lost in America (1985)
Directed by Albert Brooks
Cast: Albert Brooks, Julie Hagerty, Garry Marshall, Art Frankel, Michael Greene, Joey Coleman.
1985 91 minutes
Rated: (for profanity).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, October 11, 1998.
"Lost in America" is a very funny comedy from Albert Brooks (who also made 1996's "Mother"), about an unhappy married couple (Brooks and Julie Hagerty) in their 30's who are stuck in high-paying jobs that are going nowhere, and feel like their lives are just passing them by. When Brooks finds out that the execute vice manager position has been passed over him to another worker, they decide to quit their jobs, sell everything they own, purchase a motor home, and set out on the open road together. It's what they've always wanted to do, and besides, they are hoping it will save their marriage. Predictably, things immediately don't go as planned when they stop in Las Vegas to renew their wedding vows and Hagerty loses all of their money gambling.
"Lost in America" isn't necessarily an original film, and it knows it isn't (there are various references to it being exactly like "Easy Rider", and it is very similar to the delightful 1950's comedy, "The Long Long Trailer," starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz), but what saves it from being completely cliched is the highly enjoyable and witty screenplay by Albert Brooks and Monica Johnson. The dialogue, as in all of Brooks' films, is sharp and funny, and he and Hagerty make a great team. In fact, they are so charismatic together, I'm surprised they've never reteamed for a film. Now, that's an idea!
"Lost in America" was so good throughout that the film easily had the potential to be a great comedy, like the similar "National Lampoon's Vacation," but it feels much too short, and just when you think it should be hitting the 3/4 mark, it ends, as if they forget to film a conclusion. When the end credits started to roll, I was disappointed because I felt like there was so much more that could have been done, but wasn't.
Nonetheless, Albert Brooks' "Lost in America" is so entertaining the whole way through that it certainly should not be missed. It's a perfectly good way to spend an hour-and-a-half.
© 1998 by Dustin Putman