In God We Trust (1980)

Genres - Comedy  |   Release Date - Sep 26, 1980 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 97 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Donald Guarisco

It's obvious that co-writer/director/star Marty Feldman was attempting to emulate former employer Mel Brooks with In God We Trust. He casted top comedians like Andy Kaufman and Richard Pryor to play larger-than-life roles, employed broad humor for satirical purposes, and even used Brooks's regular composer John Morris to create a very Brooks-esque musical score. Sadly, Feldman lacks Brooks' ability to mix inspired lunacy with satiric bite and his gift for staging gags in a visually engaging manner. The film also suffers from a weak script that loses track of its story by overloading the story with tired, derivative gags (for example, Feldman attempts to hide Louise Lasser under his monk's robe while the police look for her). As a result, much of the humor falls flat. The film's worthy comedic targets (greed and organized religion) are dealt with in a toothless, superficial manner, and most of the purely slapstick bits are filmed in long, unedited wide shots that rob them of their energy. In God We Trust does have one saving grace and that is its cast. Kaufman and Pryor attack their satirical roles with relish, Lasser and Peter Boyle bring a bit of human warmth to the comedy and Feldman himself is charming in his own oddball way. However, their effectiveness is hamstrung by the meager material they have to work with and their charm can't overcome the indifferent quality of the writing and direction. Thus, In God We Trust can only be recommended to comedy completists.