Customer Review

3.0 out of 5 stars It's perfectly fine, 25 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: EINE SCHLAFLOSE NACHT IN NEW Y [DVD] [1999] (DVD)
A 90s update of Neil Simon's 70s screenplay, the film centers on a middle-aged couple (Martin and Hawn) whose son is grown and leaves for Europe. Their new loneliness is mixed in with Martin getting fired, and needing to go to New York for an interview at an ad firm (unbeknownst to his wife). Against his personal wishes, she joins him on the flight, and well, misfortune ensues as they try to get to the Big Apple on time. Lost luggage, robbers, a rude hotel manager (Cleese) and public exposure await them....

'Fine' as 'fine' can be, this new version of Neil Simon's tale of city lunacy has its moments, mostly thanks to the brief but welcome stiff upper lip of John Cleese, but doesn't offer much more. Hawn and Martin are perfectly decent as a team, but it's Cleese who steals the show. Yes, it's basically a slightly wackier Basil Fawlty, but hey, it ain't broke so it still works, especially during the film's biggest laugh, which involves late 90s pop and drag. That's all I'll say. Also, director Sam Weissman (D2) offers a good looking comedy, with plenty of cityscapes and chases, especially during the night time up at Central Park. The bit of our leads under the bridge in the shadows is actually rather beautiful.

However, everything else is rather pedestrian. The main plot dealing with aging and finding a life after parenthood could've been interesting, but amounts to silly fluff that allows for the jokes to exist. None of the characters are all that developed, and what there is is usually done through a lot of shouting and screaming between them. And finally, though he directs with gusto, Weissman severely overuses Marc Shaiman's jazzy score to force feed sentiment. Seriously, maybe two minutes go by before he starts using another track as underscore, and it just wears after a while.

In closing, Out-of-Towners '99 is by no means a bad film or comedy, and does have its moments. However, for all the talent here, it's more mildly amusing than hilarious, and that is definitely a disappointment.
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