(Originally posted on 2/27/04)
I don’t really get Albert Brooks. The guy is mildly witty in a West Coast Woody Allen-ish kinda way, but his apoplectic fits of neurotic exasperation leave me indifferent. With that out of the way, I must confess to being pleasantly surprised by Lost in America, Brooks’ fantasy about turning off, tuning out, and hitting the road à la Easy Rider with nothing but a Winnebago and a “nest egg” of retirement savings. Brooks and Airplane! star Julie Hagerty play David and Linda Howard, professional stiffs who quit their stultifying jobs for a life of unplanned adventure on the American highway. The first stop on their odyssey is Las Vegas where they plan to renew their wedding vows, but disaster strikes when Linda, feverishly fixated on the number 22, blows the cherished nest egg playing roulette. Thus, the two are left to fend for themselves in menial jobs in Podunk, Arizona. The couple never really make it very far across the country, but there are some inspired bits along their truncated journey, including David’s confrontation with his boss (in which he utters the phrase “F--- you” like a huffy ten-year-old girl) and his interview with an employment officer who can’t believe David is searching for a $100,000 salary in their small town. Hagerty is her usual ditzy self and Brooks is, well, Brooks, but as an exploration of one unhappy couple’s impulsive rejection of the middle-class American dream, Lost in America is an amusingly bumpy ride.