Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Couch Trip (1988)

Seen: On our big screen/projector set-up, streamed from Miles' computer.

This semester is finishing up, thank goodness, and I've been trying to get back on track, movie-wise. Of course this doesn't always lead to good decisions, as I watch movies, any movie, out of desperation. We went into The Couch Trip not knowing much about it besides its cast and running time, and it turns out that's not always the mark of a good film. Dan Aykroyd stars as John W Burns, Jr, a charming (I guess?) swindler who cons his way out of prison and into a Chicago mental institution. He intercepts a call meant for his jerky psychiatrist and manages to secure a well-paid position as a talk show therapist in LA, replacing the famous George Maitlin (Charles Grodin), who's busy having a nervous breakdown. Burns does his best to hide his real identity while shaking things up with Maitlin's patients, and really helping some of them through his radical methods. Walter Matthau co-stars as a con artist who blackmails Burns into sharing the wealth.

So Charles Grodin and Walter Matthau should be enough, right? Dan Aykroyd is hit and miss for me but even he should bring some fun to an 80s comedy right? And Chevy Chase pops up for a cameo! BUT NOTHING IS ENOUGH because this movie isn't very good. It's boring, really. And not funny. The premise is ok but I didn't care about anything that happened, everything was just sort of pointless. Aykroyd isn't believable as this super charming guy who for no particular reason gets everyone to like him even though he's kind of annoying. The script probably thinks its edgy but it lacks originality. And poor Walter Matthau, how far you've fallen.

I will say that Charles Grodin is just the best, and is pretty hilarious here in the smaller role of Dr Maitlin. He is super depressed but in denial about it, and then goes CRAZY when he finds out his wife cheated on him with his best friend/lawyer. It looked like Grodin was having fun playing a cocky guy who gradually unravels into homicidal mania, and he was the one person I enjoyed watching. So thanks, Mr Grodin, for doing your best to salvage this otherwise tiresome film.

2/5

Watch Instead: Um something with Charles Grodin that's good? DUH Midnight Run!

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