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Awesome: 4.17%
Worth A Look: 4.17%
Just Average: 14.58%
Pretty Crappy: 16.67%

5 reviews, 18 user ratings

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Out-of-Towners, The (1999)
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by Hawkboy

"Basil Fawlty: Trapped in a lame-ass Steve Martin movie!"
1 stars

John Cleese originally wanted to turn "Fawlty Towers" into a movie. He decided against it. Our loss. So instead we get to see Basil trapped in a Neil Simon movie. Apparently Walter Matthau was busy.

I used to adore Steve Martin. His early films and comedy albums were the stuff of genius. Then I saw "Leap of Faith". And then, the laughter stopped.

This is a movie that tries SO HARD to be funny, you can actually hear the filmmakers panting for breath in the background. Even though Goldie Hawn hasn't been funny since 1968 (and even then, she was funny because she was an idiot), I had hopes for this movie. John Cleese still manages to be entertaining, and the concept of him as a hotel manager seemed like movie magic. And Steve? Well, going to a Steve Martin film and expecting it to be funny lately feels like seeing your alcoholic cousin Ron at a family reunion. You really hope the guy's gonna get it all back together, but you're not overly optimistic anymore.

So Steve and Goldie go to New York, and New York is a terrible place to visit. Everybody is so rude. It is so hard to get a cab. Blah blah blah. The movie is a filmed version of why your dad won't let you go to New York by yourself. There is so much contrived wackiness, you feel sorry for Steve. Steve Martin is one of the most intelligent, well-read comedians in the world. He is an art collector, he can discuss serious literature and his New Yorker articles are among the funniest things I've read in my life. But here? He sucks. Just plain sucks. We know you're smarter than this, Steve. Playing a dorky traveller who has no idea how to function in society just isn't you, Mr. Martin. Even when you played Navin Johnston in "The Jerk", you managed to show an undercurrent of intelligence, even in your most idiotic portrayals. Here, you can barely disguise your pity for your character.

John Cleese plays the role of the Hotel Manager as only John Cleese can. He's rude, he's bad-tempered, he does silly walks in women's clothing....He's Basil Fawlty. Every scene he was in had me laughing, because the character is so firmly engrained in the public's consiousness that he doesn't even have to speak to be funny.

Why this movie was made is clear. The original was funny, the public likes Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn, and "Housesitter" was funny and charming. So they tried. And they failed. But oh, to see John Cleese behind that hotel desk, almost makes it worth the trip. Almost.

Steve Martin's next movie with Eddie Murphy and Frank Oz is getting some good buzz. Come on, cousin Ron, deep down I never truly gave up on you.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=1241&reviewer=27
originally posted: 04/11/99 02:02:04
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User Comments

1/22/10 dupadoit yay me 4 stars
3/15/08 Pamela White not great but good for a saturday when you have the flu 3 stars
5/05/06 Ashley Hinz I loved it. Better than the original. John Cleese steals the show. 5 stars
11/26/03 Etheridge Hoogendijk Hawn&Martin just can't recapture the magic of HOUSESITTER. 3 stars
7/19/02 Kyle No Andrew, the John Cleese dancing scene is not classic... some people are fucking idiots.. 1 stars
3/24/02 Veronica Foxx aka The Raven-Haired Temptress Not much to offer; maybe a chuckle or two on a boring Sat. afternoon. 3 stars
12/06/01 The $1.98 Pyramid The preferable 1970 version with Jack Lemon is much better 3 stars
10/07/01 Andrew Carden The John Cleese Dancing Scene Is Classic. 4 stars
6/26/00 Monday Morning Ranks right up there with "Look Who's Talking" 2 stars
3/16/00 David Rogers What can I say? They did a better job than Housesitter. 5 stars
5/15/99 Murrieta Man Mildly entertaining - Some funny moments 3 stars
5/02/99 Kevin Knapp Wow this was shitty 1 stars
4/29/99 Evan Hughes Enough funny moments to justify its existence but not much more. 3 stars
4/25/99 Mr Showbiz uninspired, pointlessly wacky farce that reduces its leads to crude slapstick. 1 stars
4/17/99 Marjorie Everything in this movies seemed forced 2 stars
4/13/99 Ah Dooey Not even a matinee can save this one 1 stars
4/11/99 Technorama sucks a big one 1 stars
4/02/99 E Delivers only as long as your expectations are not too high. 3 stars
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  02-Apr-1999 (PG-13)



Directed by
  Sam Weisman

Written by
  Marc Lawrence

  Steve Martin
  Goldie Hawn
  John Cleese
  Mark McKinney
  Gregory Jbara
  Ernie Sabella

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