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4.2 out of 5 stars
Lost in America
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Albert Brooks is the thinking man's comedian. And he proves it with "Lost In America". This movie is written, acted and directed with impeccable precision. The casting is perfect. Somehow this dated 80's yuppie film is just smart enough and just down to earth enough to entertain almost everyone. Albert Brooks has a whimsical intelligent paranoia about life, Julie Haggerty is his invincibly sweet wife, and every other character in this film is tangibly interesting. This movie is full of sarcasm, human honesty, and laughter for the mind. "Lost in America" is full of subtle humor and interesting ideas. If you have a brain and if you like to laugh, this is the movie for you. Albert Brooks deserves some kind of an Oscar for this one. Please get lost in America!
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on March 20, 2000
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
Without question, Albert Brooks is the absolute master of subtle humor. In "Lost In America," the writer-director-star weaves an hilarious tapestry that is no less than a paean to an entire generation of Yuppies. When David Howard (Brooks), the creative director for one of the largest advertising agencies in the world, fails to get the promotion he's "waited his whole life for," he quits his job ("Well, I got fired, but it's the same thing-"), then convinces his wife, Linda (Julie Hagerty), to do the same. They then proceed to sell their house, liquidate all their assets ("We got a ride on the inflation train you would not believe,"), buy a thirty-foot motor home and drop out of society in order to "find" themselves. Patterning himself after the guys in "Easy Rider," David's plan is for them to set off across America, to "Touch Indians, see the mountains and the prairies and all the rest of that song," and they leave Los Angeles with a new motor home, a substantial nest egg and an anxious sense of adventure. It all soon goes awry, of course, and what follows are some of the funniest scenes you'll ever see in an intelligent comedy. Among the most memorable are the ones with Michael Greene (As David's boss), when he informs David that instead of a promotion he's being transferred to New York to work on their latest acquisition, Ford ("We got trucks, too."); one with Garry Marshall (As a casino manager in Las Vegas); and finally, the scene in which David explains the concept of the "nest egg" to Linda, which has to be, historically, one of the classic comedy scenes of all time. The solid supporting cast includes Tom Tarpey (Brad Tooey, the "bald-headed man from New York"), Ernie Brown, Art Frankel, Charles Boswell and Joey Coleman. Written by Brooks and Monica Johnson, "Lost In America" is a timeless comedy classic that can be enjoyed over and over again.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on March 7, 1999
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
Albert Brooks came of age in this 1985 comedy about a Advertising Executive and Human Resource wife who decide that corporate america is not the place for them and by liqidating all their assests, can start a "nest egg" and just live off the land. Fun begins with Albert not getting the promotion he thinks he deserves and talks his wife (played by Airplane's Julie Haggerty) into not moving into a new house- rather, buy a Winebago and "touch Indians" for the rest of their lives. A stop in Las Vegas to renew wedding vows turns the dream life into a disatster, as Haggerty blows there savings at the roulette table ("22") What follows is how they come to terms with this event and how they try to piece their life together in a trailor park in the Southwest- the only place they have enough money to buy gas to get to. A scene when Brooks confronts Haggerty on "breaking the nest egg" is certainly one of the funniest exchanges in movie history. Brooks is blessed with a keen perceptual sense and his "high brow" humor is not to be missed. His ties to producer Janes Brooks (co-creator of "The Simpsons" and cameo role in Brooks' "Modern Romance") reflect that. This is a must for any video library. I also recommend the current feature "Office Space" for anyone who likes to have to "think" before laughing.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This is definitely one of my favorite comedy movies! I watch it every once in a while and enjoy it as much as I did the first time - maybe even more. The scenes are fabulous - smart and funny and well-written. I have quoted the "nest egg" speech many times; also the employment office's "hundred thousand dollar box". It's fantastic!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
One of the funniest movies for grown-ups EVER! Every confrontation scene in this movie (in his boss's office, in the casino manager's office, at the Hoover Dam, at the school crosswalk, at the unemployment office, etc.) is a comic gem! If you're reading this review, chances are you have already seen this movie. So what are you waiting for? Buy the DVD already! You need to keep this movie in your video library and make all your friends watch it. This movie has more memorable lines in it than The Godfather, Casablanca, and Caddyshack combined! Granted, not all of Brooks's films are stellar. Anyone see "The Scout"? Terrible! But "Lost In America" is on par with the excellent "Real Life" from a few years earlier. Watch that one and listen for his "airline VIP club/missing-the-point" rant. Not only is Albert Brooks (yes! his real name IS Albert Einstein!) a wonderfully talented writer and director, but he is a great actor, too. Remember, he got an Oscar nomination for "Broadcast News" in 1987.
Why can't all comedies be as funny as "Lost In America'"? And tell Julie Hagerty to stay away from the Roulette wheel.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on March 1, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
No doubt about it -- Albert Brooks is a divisive presence in cinema. Some love him, some hate him and there's very little in between. Part of the problem, I think, is that Brooks has been willing to play characters that are truly awful people, including the manipulative and unctious director in Reel Life, the smarmy film editor in Modern Romance (raving in a 'lude-induced haze about how he's "Mr. Popularity" as he looks through his rolodex, or how much "i love my records" as he picks out "A Fifth of Beethoven"), and ad exec with all the wrong instincts in Lost in America (anticipating a raise, he practices his responses in front of the mirror: "Noooo -- that's MORE...") etc. etc. Lately though, Brooks has moderated his image (he's less the miscreant and more sympathetic in "Defending Your Life" and "Mother," and his turns in "Broadcast News" and "The Scout" are also a gentler form of Brooks).
However you come out on all that, he's never been funnier than he was in "Lost in America." This is a wonderful film with many wonderful moments. My favorite may be his attempt to convince Garry Marshall, playing the manager of a Vegas casino where Julie Haggerty, as Brook's wife, has just lost every friggin penny they ever saved, to give them their money back; the best Marshall can offer in response, with evident self-satisfaction at his generosity, is "your room, your meals -- comped." Another great moment is when Brooks finally explodes at Haggerty for blowing their "nest egg," describes how a nest egg is supposed to work, and then forbids her from saying the word, or any part of it, until she understands it: "a nest is a . . a . . ROUND STICK . . ."
I too have watched this film many times in video, which is rare for me. Its for sure a keeper and its the overall best Brooks film out there (although Modern Romance is pretty much all good until the Foley scene). Its not for everyone though: I once took it with me as the evening's entertainment when I was going over to a friends house for dinner. His family was extremely WASPY, fancied themselves "old money" and his father was a somewhat well-known ad exec at a firm that was long ago swallowed by one of the new breed of hungrier, less stodgy ad firms. The film wasn't on for 5 minutes before the family started bailing out of the TV room in evident disgust. Brooks can make some people very uncomfortable, but in my experience, they're usually the right people.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on January 10, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
This is simply my favorite comedy film of all time. It's a classic, hilarious look at the painful odyssey from anger to forgiveness. I've seen it at least 10 times and it still makes me laugh!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
I think this is still Albert Brooks' best movie. It is downright embarrassingly funny. A MUST in your film library. Guranteed laughs no matter how many times you see it!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
Albert Brooks and Julie Hagerty make the perfect pair in this hilarious movie about dropping out of the corporate world and hitting the road. Unfortunately; the road had a big bump in Las Vegas, but that's one of the major reasons why this film is so funny and successful. This is one of those movies you can watch over and over again, yet never tire from. It's a classic from the 80's.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2003
Format: DVD
Probably the only great comedy ABOUT the Eighties. The criticisms that *Lost in America* doesn't have a strong plot and not much of a "third act" are substantially on the mark; but with Albert Brooks at his most acidic, should one really care? And yes, the main crisis -- Julie Hagerty gambling away their savings at the roulette wheel in a Vegas casino -- feels hastily conceived, even slap-dash; but again, should one really care? The movie barrels ahead on the strength of its set-pieces, its dialogue, and the continuous presence of the ceaselessly funny Brooks. In other words, *Lost in America* has more than enough going for it. Some of the great scenes in this gem of a movie include: Brooks' aria of outrage in his boss' office when he learns that he's not getting the promotion to VP at the high-powered advertising agency for whom he's toiled for years; Brooks' sales-pitch to casino-manager Garry Marshall that the casino should "give us our money back!"; Brooks' interview with a man at an employment agency in the small Arizona town in which they've found themselves stuck (employment agency man guffawing: "Well, I don't think we got anything 'round here that pays $100,000 a YEAR!") . . . and, of course, the great Nest Egg diatribe, which has become a comedy classic. As the movie progresses, the tone gets a little darker, a little sadder, as Brooks and his wife come to realize that it's too late to start over. Behind the hilarity, *Lost in America* imparts the painful lesson that the dreams of youth must be deferred during one's prime. Those dreams must wait for old age . . . if one is still around to act on them, of course. And the movie also has something to say about the Baby Boomer generation being forced to grow up. (*Easy Rider* has been relegated to nostalgic kitsch, here: it's a HIGHWAY PATROLMAN'S favorite movie!) In the height of the Reagan era, the Sixties -- along with all the baggage that term suggests -- were finished for good. Over and out.
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