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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Out-of-Towners
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
What appears to be the plot for a lengthy kids cartoon comes to live action with all the desired results and then some. Lemmon and Dennis, both of whom are Oscar-winners, are genuinely perfect in the leads of the All-American family trying to make it in a big city, with one disastrous mishap topping another, from missing trains to losing luggage to broken teeth and even to broken high heels. It's a wonder Lemmon's character kept from spewing off an endless barrage of foul dirty cussing, something typical of the trashy comedy we see in the movies today. Dennis's portrayal of the ever-so supportive wife is outstanding, as she just takes what comes despite her own misery just to keep her husband happy. Nearly everything one can imagine to make a business trip turn to a total nightmarish cataclysim happens here, and shows just what can happen in the Big Apple, but with a hilarious rather than serious approach to it. "Never give up" seems to be Neil Simon's message here when trying to make it in the business world. Nevertheless this film is brilliantly produced, directed, superbly scripted, and giftedly edited. The two leads are irreplaceable, and stands alone as one of the best comedies of life as we know it.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS was written by Neil Simon and remains one of his best works, even though Simon is mainly a playwrite. The movie starts off fairly slow and uneventful as George and Gwen Kellerman, from Twin Oaks, Ohio, are flying to New York where George has an interview (just mere formality) for a vice presidency. They are expecting to eat dinner at 8:30pm at the Four Seasons, but they never see the inside of that famous eating establishment. Instead, the plane circles for hours and ends up going to Boston because of fog. Once in Boston their luggage is lost, they miss the train to New York, and catch the train to New York. Once in the Big Apple, they find that the city is in the middle of transit and garbage collectors strikes. In the pouring rain they walk to their hotel only to find that their room wasn't held and has been given away. Later the couple are mugged, kidnapped, and George is mugged in his sleep. Having not eaten for several hours and with no money they chase a stray dog for a breakfast of a half-eaten box of Cracker Jacks. More chases follow and they are even kicked out of praying in a church because of a televised special. George eventually does make his morning meeting, but by then has learned some very important lessons about family and the simple life back home in Twin Oaks, Ohio.
Jack Lemmon is great in this movie, but I find it's Sandy Dennis who really steals the film. She plays Gwen perfectly, brilliantly foiling Lemmon's performance as the loud and boistorous George. The "O, my God" line, which signals a major worry by Gwen, keeps me laughing every time I hear it.
THE-OUT-OF-TOWNERS is a very witty comedy and one of Neil Simon's finest pieces of writing. It's a great movie to watch alone or with family and friends. It's relatively short (around 90 minutes), too, so even if you don't enjoy it, you won't have wasted much time.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
I met Sandy Dennis backstage at a play once and wanting to say something more than the usual remarks of admiration I told her that my father stayed up one night to watch "The Out-of-Towners," which was of some import because my father never stayed up to watch anything. She said her father liked that one too and I got an autograph in which she spelled by first name correctly.
This 1970 film, the original version of "The Out-of-Towners" for those who say the recent version that is part of Steve Martin's attempt to be in more remakes than any other living actor, is my favorite Neil Simon script, which is rather ironic when you consider that he is primarily a comic playwright. However this script takes the hapless couple of George (Jack Lemmon) and Gwen Kellerman (Dennis) from their home in Ohio to New York City, where he has a job interview. However, their plans for a nice dinner at the Four Seasons are dashed when the plan circles the airport for hours before being diverted to Boston. Instead of eating at one of the best restaurants in the world they end up with her eating peanut butter on white bread and him eating crackers and olives with no drinks. This actually ends up being the best thing that happens to George and Gwen the rest of that night, which involves a train ride to New York, no room at the inn, a garbage strike, a mugger, and being kidnapped while in the back of a police car. This is without even mentioning the lost eyelash, the broken heel, and the chipped tooth that resulted from a bad encounter with the prize in a box of Cracker Jacks.
Throughout it all, George and Gwen keep up a running dialogue as he gets angrier and take more names while she tries to be the voice of reason and attests that she can verify everything her husband says in his growing list of complaints against the city is true. Everybody always talks about Lemmon's comic partnership with Walter Matthau, but Dennis comes across as the more perfect foil. Eventually her pessimism is turned into paranoia as the city takes the out of town couple for everything they have and keeps on grinding them into the rain soaked streets where the garbage is piling up to the sky. Eventually the idea of being Vice President in a company that has something to do with plastics does not seem like a step up in the world if this is the world in which they have to live.
I am surprised that this movie is only 98 minutes long, but I suppose it is because of all those commercials with late night television and the way Simon keeps pouring one misery after another on George and Gwen that makes "The Out-of-Towners" seem a lot longer, but not in a bad way. The pacing is pretty brisk for a story about two people who have a hard time getting to where they are going, and there are a lot of patented Neil Simon one liners, most of which are true to character and context, although Dennis gets maximum mileage out of repeating the phrase "Oh my, God!" and getting big laughs.
Simon won the Writers Guild of America award for Best Comedy Written Directly for the Screen for this script, which was originally going to be one segment of "Plaza Suite," which came out the next year. But freeing it from the setting of a hotel room or even a hotel, into the wider expanse of New York City and the surrounding environs was what made this black comedy really work. Keep your eye out for lots of familiar faces who were relatively unknowns when this film came out: Anne Meara, Graham Jarvis, Ron Carey, Robert Walden, Richard Libertini, Paul Dooley, and Billy Dee Williams. Final thought: If you want to see a film that takes the exact opposite approach to New York City then that would have to be Woody Allen's "Manhattan," which would come out at the end of this same decade.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
A wild fast paced comedy by Neil Simon, shows him to be in top form! One of the few movies one can watch and just never get sick of. I've seen this movie dozens of times, and still think it's Simon's second best( I love "Lost In Yonkers")! Unforgettable acting by Lemmon and Dennis as George and Gwen Kellerman, who plan on suing the entire city of New York. At one point in the film Lemmon scream in the streets..."I have all our names and adresses! " One mishap after another, first their plane can't land, then their luggage is missing, next, their hotel doen't hold their room! And believe it or not, but this all actually happened to Simon in real life on a trip to Boston. If you like Neil Simon, or like fast paced comedy this Simon movie is perfect for you. Oscar caliber acting by Lemmon and Dennis, who only managed to get "Golden Globe" nominations. And unrightly over look Simon for an Oscar nomination. One of Simon's funniest!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVD
If you think you've had a nightmare holiday, spare a thought for George and Gwen Kellerman (as played by Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis) in THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS, written by Neil Simon!

George Kellerman (Lemmon) desperate to impress when he gets an important job interview in New York, leaves comfortable Ohio with his wife Gwen (Dennis) in tow, for a weekend of luxury in the big city... Pretty soon, everything goes pear-shaped, as the Kellermans find themselves in the middle of a New York transit strike, and later "submit" to a series of bizarre muggings, cancelled hotel reservations and shady characters. In the midst of the comedic whirlwind are the full-blooded characters of George and Gwen, broke and stranded in the big city, who quickly endear themselves to the audience.

Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis are such a joy to watch in THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS, which has a zesty comedy screenplay by Neil Simon. There's non-stop hilarity in store whenever Jack Lemmon is on the screen, and this movie is no exception. Sandy Dennis is also wonderful here, with her zany deadpan performance as Gwen. If you enjoyed "Barefoot in the Park", you'll adore the original THE OUT-OF-TOWNERS.

(Single-sided, single-layer disc).
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2006
Format: DVD
I bought this DVD as a gift to myself. I love this movie, remember it vividly from when I was a kid. Don't waste your time with the lame remake. Go for the original.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 16, 2005
Format: VHS Tape
This is the original "The Out of Towners (1970) film based on a Neil Simon story.

George (Jack Lemmon) and Gwen (Sandy Dennis) Kellerman are on their way to the airport to board a plane to New York. Both are excited because this could be a new life for George as Vice President in Charge of Sales, if the interview goes well. The thing is, George must get to the interview on time and then he will be treated with First Class style on the town.

Well, not all goes well. First the plane can not land on time due to "stacking" and then the weather becomes a problem. Then they receive bad news that they will have to land in Boston. From there it is just one problem after another. Will they ever make it to New York City before 9:00am? It's fun to watch them try.

Also in the cast: Ann Prentiss, Ron carey, Richard Libertini, Billy dee Williams, John Brown, Anthony Holland, Robert Walden, Dolph Sweet, Anne Meara, Thalmus Rasulala, Carlos Montalban, Paul Dooley, Paul Jabara and Mary Norman.

Some people think they see John Lennon at the Union Station.

Remade in 1999 starring Steve Martin and Goldie Hawn.

This is probably where they got the idea for "The Amazing Race" CBS reality tv series (2001-Present).

Recommended: Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft in The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), another New York apartment comedy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2001
Format: VHS Tape
I love this film! I very seldom disagree with one of Leonard Maltin's reviews. But I sure did on this one. He claims this movie is "excruciating". Well...yes, I think so too. Excruciatingly funny, that is!

I think that Jack Lemmon is wonderfully "over the top" in this picture. His character (as far as I see it) is obviously written to be played way, way over the top. That's what makes it funny. Realistically, we have to know that all 64 (or so) crises and maladies that befall this poor midwestern couple could not ALL happen at once in a million years. So, therefore, I think the viewer must look upon Lemmon as more of a "caricature" than a "character" in this film.

Most of this movie was filmed outdoors, and there's a nice "Big Apple" flavor here (circa 1970).

Some of my favorite lines of dialogue from "The Out-Of-Towners":

Lemmon (upon hearing his luggage didn't arrive): "Well you flew ME through the fog! How come you're now worried about two leather valises?!"

Lemmon (after frisking little boy in bushes searching for funds): "...Explain to the police? What I was doing in the woods with a little boy...with my hands in his pockets?!? They'd give me twenty years!"
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2004
Format: DVD
We've all had those moments when everything that could go wrong, did, and there's invariably someone available to cheerfully tell us how we should have done it. Aargh!!! Gwen and George have no fewer than 20 things go wrong on their business trip to New York. This movie is Murphy's Law stretched to the maximum and will have you laughing in sympathy to the couple's responses to misfortune. Wonderful movie you can watch with your children!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
I had seen this film many years ago, so I had an idea of what to expect in this strange comedy film. The premise of a couple Lemmon & Dennis)leaving Ohio and going to New York for Lemmon's job interview is funny, but it can also irritate as we have all had some of these things happen to us and we all know ......it's not funny! Of course, Lemmon can make just about anything funny, so it is a good movie, it really depends on what kind of day you had when you watch it!

The cast is good and the story is well written, but be prepared to watch a couple, have things go wrong on a trip and just keep getting worse......well at least it has a happy ending! :-) It is a comedy! The DVD has an excellent transfer, but no extras.
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