2/9/16

FUNNY FARM - REVIEW


Chevy Chase stars in this 1988 comedy about a sports writer who moves to the country with his wife (Madolyn Smith) in the hope of starting a new life away from the city as a novelist. What follows is kind of a cross between National Lampoon's Vacation and The Money Pit.

As soon as they settle into their new house, they are met with all sorts of bizarre problems: a mailman who throws letters out of a moving car, a body buried in the flowerbed, a coin-operated phone inside the house that isn't there, a dog that never stops running. Add to that Chase's overeager attempts to fit in with the inhabitants of the small town close by which, of course, backfire in a big way and his failure to meet his deadline writing-wise and you've got yourself a fun set-up for a screwball comedy. The first two-thirds of the movie are exactly what you'd expect with Chase slowly but surely losing patience with the new life he's chosen and starting to act nutty.

Then the film takes an unexpected turn when the couple decide to split up and get a divorce which leads to what's basically a completely different plot to a completely different movie. Chase and Smith decide to sell the house but in order to make sure that someone like them would get suckered into buying it, they ask the whole town to pretend like they're normal, friendly people. In exchange for a hefty sum of money. This all happens during the third act of the film but it sadly doesn't gel with the rest of it: this should have been the starting point of the film or none of it. What you wanna see is Chevy chase going all-out and making a real fool of himself for the last 20 minutes, perhaps getting sweet revenge on the town in some wacky way but instead you've got a new plot to worry about and it's really just one joke over and over again.

Funny Farm starts strong and builds to some very funny moments. Chase and Smith make a solid duo and both make the most of it. That said, the film itself is disappointingly uneven and, while it remains likeable and charming all the way through, the laughs kinda just fizzle out.

Flawed but entertaining.

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