The Out-of-Towners (1999)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Urban Comedy, Black Comedy  |   Release Date - Apr 2, 1999 (USA), Apr 2, 1999 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 88 min.  |   Countries - Malaysia, United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Laura Abraham

Neil Simon's well-crafted script revolving around a couple reclaiming their relationship amidst a most chaotic trip to New York seemed a likely candidate for a remake. It was not shocking that a hilarious movie such as The Out-of-Towners would be next in a long list of remakes Hollywood has been so partial to. The original script was full of witty dialogue and outrageous situations. It was a mounting succession of failures that kept audiences laughing and on the edge of their seat the entire time. What was shocking about the remake was the absolute pointless, absurd, and ridiculous mess this film turned out to be. The film attempted to replace the original stars, Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis, with Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn. While the original actors had comic timing and thoroughly likable characters, Martin and Hawn fell short of achieving more than a few laughs from the audience. Their performances, simply put, seemed stiff. This version does borrow some of the gags from the first one, and these are the only parts of the film that are digestible. John Cleese is perfect as a snobby hotel clerk, a character and performance he honed to an art in Fawlty Towers. While it may not be original, this character is good enough to shine however many times it is reincarnated. One man cannot carry an entire film, however, and so the shining moments of Cleese were not enough to make up for the dull moments of the rest of the cast. This classic piece of American comedy was slaughtered in such an obvious and distasteful way. Some of the gags worked remarkably well, but the majority fell flat, thus leaving the audience wondering what the point was.