This is a blog which primarily gives some attention to movies that I find were overlooked (for whatever reason) or are simply underrated. I also comment on other, mainly movie-related issues as well. I welcome any suggestions for films to be added to this distinguished list.

One word of warning: The films listed below contain spoilers, so caution during reading is required.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Funny Farm (1988)

"This is going to cost us a fortune."
"The $50 bonus was your idea."
-Andy and Elizabeth Farmer.

Not long ago, one of my colleagues wrote an article detailing the rise and fall of Chevy Chase. This goes through Chase's filmography and points out that Funny Farm was one of the numerous flops Chase is now associated with. This is ironic because it is actually enjoyable to watch. It is not laugh-free like Caddyshack II (1988), needlessly disgusting like Nothing But Trouble (1991), or schizophrenic like Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992).
Chase plays Andy Farmer, a sportswriter who moves from New York to Vermont with his wife Elizabeth(Madolyn Smith). He plans to write a novel amid the countryside that is now his new home.
But trouble arrives almost immediately when the movers are a day late, due to following a map Andy provided, forcing the Farmers to sleep on the floor of their new home. They also must deal with a mailman who drives super-fast, tossing their mail at them, as well as the body of a man buried in the garden of their new home.
The couple also deals with marital issues when Elizabeth expresses her dislike of a rough draft of Andy's novel before successfully getting a children's story she wrote published.
They decide to divorce when she learns that Andy attempted to pass off her work as his own. To speed up the process, they offer the townspeople money to help them sell their house.
But, as is often the case with married couples in the movies, they realize they really love each other and decide to stay in their new home, to the chagrin of those they promised to pay.
This film is more like Three Amigos (1986) and the original National Lampoon's Vacation (1983) because, for one thing, Chase plays a likeable character. Much like Clark Griswold, Andy finds himself tormented by outside circumstances, which makes it easy to feel sorry for him.
Other laughs include the Farmers buying a dog which simply darts off to parts unknown after they bring him home. That dog's replacement simply lays around the house (Andy asks if it's alive when Elizabeth presents their new pet to him).
I must also mention that bodily humor is successfully used in this film when Andy takes a liking to what he thinks are lamb cutlets, only to learn that they are from a different part of the lamb.
Maybe Chase's reputation for being a huge jerk had already set in with the public by the time this film came out (and this was before the horror that was The Chevy Chase Show), but Farm should be noted as a reminder that Chase can be fun to watch.
It's a shame Chase's ego has given us a reason to not exactly cheer for him again since his recent exit from Community.

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