1981-1990Albert BrooksComedyUSA

Albert Brooks – Lost in America (1985)


from allmovie:

Bored with their cushy suburban existence, yuppie David (Albert Brooks) talks his wife Linda (Julie Hagerty) into selling everything they own and hitting the road to “see America.” As a starting-over gesture, David and Linda are romantically remarried in Las Vegas — which, ironically, proves to be the beginning of the end of their idyll. In short order, Linda loses their life’s savings, the couple nearly self-destructs at Hoover Dam, they take blue-collar jobs in a go-nowhere Arizona town, and….Well, if you know your Albert Brooks, be prepared for a steady stream of manic social satire. — Hal Erickson

Albert Brooks, master of the slow burn, was the director and co-writer, with Monica Johnson, behind this masterful evisceration of the materialistic values of 1980s American yuppie culture. In a wicked parody of the Me Generation, Brooks’ protagonists’ ideals are presented as a dark reflection of the idealism that suffered such a hard death after the 1960s. Lost in America’s satirical emulation of Easy Rider sees David and Linda Howard not traveling the American hinterland on a chopper but roaming interstates in a gas-hogging Winnebago and talking reverently of the cocoon-like comfort that their “nest egg” provides. Initially aimed at finding the “real” America (they want to “touch the Indians”), the journey ultimately leads to Las Vegas, the heart of the American Dream’s darkness. The greed of an entire money-obsessed generation is spread out before us in these moments, and Brooks’ ability to turn his horror and disgust into our amusement is without parallel in movies of the era. Implicit in his rage is a challenge issued to his generation: is this the best you can do? Both Brooks and Julie Hagerty distinguish themselves in a cast that includes a classic supporting performance by Garry Marshall, whose explanation of the purpose of a casino to a flustered and desperate Brooks is a masterpiece of comic understatement. Brooks is not exactly a visionary with a camera, but his dialogue sings, and his near-hysterical exasperation as David is exactly right for the movie, one of cinema’s most effectively vicious and hilarious satires of the 1980s. — Dan Jardine


Subtitles: English

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