THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS Add To My Top 10
Release Date: April 02, 1999
Runtime: 91 minutes
Distributor: Paramount Pictures
Director: Sam Weisman
Writer: Marc Lawrence
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The story remains the same. A middle-aged couple from Ohio loses their remaining child to college. The nest is empty. The mother, Nancy Clark (Hawn), seems lost, not knowing what to do. Her life was taking care of her kids. The man of the house, Henry Clark (Martin), faces his own troubles - namely unemployment from an advertising agency. Hope springs forth when he receives an invitation to apply to an ad agency in New York. He hopes to get the new job so he doesn't have to tell Nancy that he was fired from his previous job.
After he boards the plane, he realizes Nancy has tagged along for moral support. What follows for the next half hour seems lifted directly from Steve Martin's movie TRAINS, PLANES AND AUTOMOBILES. The plane is re-routed to Boston, their luggage doesn't arrive, they finally find a car after going to several agencies, and after arriving in New York, are robbed by an Andrew Lloyd Webber look-alike and are turned away from their hotel. Throughout all the mishaps, husband and wife discuss their new life together, and what their future will hold. Eventually, at a sex addicts anonymous meeting which they inadvertently attend, Nancy says she wishes there was more romance in their marriage, and Henry admits that he lost his job in Ohio.
Eventually, Nancy and Henry rediscover a sexual spark in Central Park. Henry is arrested for public urination and just barely makes his meeting, disheveled, unshaven and looking worse for the wear. Because this is the movies, everything works out in the end in a New York minute.
Steve Martin performs his everyman role well, and seems to be the same character as the one in the FATHER OF THE BRIDE movies. Hawn is her usual wacky self, and she still proves that she is a strong comedienne. In fact, she performs stride-for-stride the brunt of several physical gags - hanging out windows, falling out of cars, etc.
There are a few morally questionable things to consider. First, there are a few obscenities and profanities, but all are mild. Secondly, the sexual addiction classes, while not foul, are somewhat frank. Details aren't discussed, but laughs are derived from the participants telling each other their frequency. Thirdly, in an attempt to get some food and a shower, Nancy seduces a hotel guest, through smooth talk, but no kissing or physical contact occurs. Fourth, the feuding couple make up amorously, though briefly, in Central Park in a scene played for laughs, not erotically. Fifth, in prison Henry is given a hallucinogen. He is told it is an aspirin, but he definitely hallucinates on it. Finally, Nancy and Henry discover the hotel manager, played with classic Monty Python finesse by John Cleese, is a closet cross-dresser, who loves to high step in women's clothing. They eventually blackmail him by threatening to reveal this information in order that they can get a room.
THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS seems a little like GRUMPY MIDDLE AGED MARRIED COUPLE, with good natured bickering and many, zany slapstick scenarios. Ideal for some adults, it is pure comedy, some of it slightly off-color, but the underlying theme is commitment and love in marriage.