HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Birds of Prey: And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
Gentlemen Broncos
To the Stars
Lady Godiva Rides Again
Angelfish
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, A
This is a Hijack
Loved One, The
Jumanji: The Next Level
Krabi 2562
Call of the Wild, The
Diary of a Country Priest
Sea Fever
Throw Down
Grudge, The
Green Man, The
Specialists, The
Convoy
Romantic Comedy
Going Ape!
Rabid
Infinite Football
Little Women
Camino Skies
Ema
Another Shore
Cry Havoc
Legend of the Stardust Brothers, The
Mystery Team
Westward the Women
Demonwarp
Man Who Killed Don Quixote, The
Chloe
Jojo's Bizarre Adventure
Murder Inferno
Extraction
Overlanders, The
Can You Keep a Secret?
Women in Revolt
   
 
Newest Articles
Who Watched The Watchmen?
The Golden Age of Colonic Irrigation: Monty Python Series 4 on Blu-ray
Lady of Pleasure: Lola Montes on Blu-ray
Take You to the Gay Bar: Funeral Parade of Roses on Blu-ray
Hit for Ms: Mark Cousins' Women Make Film on Blu-ray
Look Sinister: The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse on Blu-ray
Star Wars Triple Threat: The Tricky Third Prequel and Sequel
I Can See for Miles: The Man with the X-Ray Eyes on Blu-ray
Too Much Pressure: The Family Way on Blu-ray
The Alan Key: Alan Klein and What a Crazy World on Blu-ray
A Japanese Ghost Story: Kwaidan on Blu-ray
The Zu Gang: Zu Warriors from the Magic Mountain on Blu-ray
Reality TV: The Year of the Sex Olympics on DVD
The Young and the Damned: They Live By Night on Blu-ray
Mind How You Go: The Best of COI on Blu-ray
Der Kommissar's in Town: Babylon Berlin Series 3 on DVD
The End of Civilisation as We Know It: The 50th Anniversary
The Whalebone Box: The Andrew Kotting Interview
Being Human: The Elephant Man on 4K UHD Blu-ray
It's! Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 3 on Blu-ray
Put the Boot In: Villain on Blu-ray
The Children's Film Foundation Bumper Box Vol. 2: Vic Pratt Interview
All the Lonely People: Sunday Bloody Sunday on Blu-ray
Desperate Characters: Beat the Devil on Blu-ray
Chansons d'Amour: Alfie Darling on Blu-ray
   
 
  Couch Trip, The You Do Have To Be Mad To Work Here, But It Doesn't Help
Year: 1988
Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Dan Aykroyd, Walter Matthau, Charles Grodin, Donna Dixon, Richard Romanus, Mary Gross, David Clennon, Arye Gross, Victoria Jackson, Michael DeLorenzo, Mickey Jones, J.E. Freeman, David Wohl, Michael Ensign, Carol Mansell, Chevy Chase
Genre: ComedyBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: John W. Burns (Dan Aykroyd) was transferred from a prison to this high security mental hospital after persuading the authorities he was insane, and he has been treated there ever since, though the chief psychiatrist, Dr Lawrence Baird (David Clennon), is extremely sceptical whether he deserves to be there at all. In fact, he thinks Burns is a fraud and is going to do everything in his power to get him to serve out his sentence (for computer hacking theft) back in jail, but Burns is far more wily than he realises, though the way he carries on an affair with one of the staff (Victoria Jackson) behind everyone's back and is better at handling the patients than Baird does not endear him to the doctors or orderlies. Then opportunity knocks...

By the time he made The Couch Trip, director Michael Ritchie had seen his status as one of the keenest observers in Hollywood comedy come undone with a string of flops, and this was no exception. It is difficult to say why talented filmmakers can see their success run out, never mind their luck, but that's what happened to a man who had made some of the most memorable and sharply handled movies of the seventies, and while Fletch with Chevy Chase has been a hit, after that it was downhill all the way. Fortunately, he proved he could still come up with the goods artistically later on with boxing comedy Diggstown; mind you, that wasn't a hit either, no matter its quality.

Where did that leave this little item? Largely unloved and stuck in late night television schedules thanks to its language and occasional frank sex talk, though there were those who caught it there and wondered why it hadn't been a bigger deal, it had a talented cast after all, and conman comedies rarely go out of fashion. It could have been miscasting, as Aykroyd was essaying a role better suited to Chevy Chase, who had been Ritchie's Fletch (and appeared in a cameo on a TV commercial), so while he got to put across some of his trademark knack for fast talking and complicated dialogue, you kept seeing his old Saturday Night Live colleague Chase in the part and pondering what might have been.

That said, you could not argue with Aykroyd's love interest here as she was the actual Mrs Aykroyd, Donna Dixon, so you would like to think they were convincing as compatible partners, no matter that the film itself seemed to be wondering what she could possibly see in him as well. Burns' smooth way with inveigling his way into others' lives sees him trick his way into posing as Baird to replace a popular radio psychiatrist who has had a nervous breakdown and is recuperating in London. That he was played by Charles Grodin may have had comedy fans salivating at the prospect of seeing him and Aykroyd trade barbs and play off one another, yet perversely the script refused to so much as place them in the same scene until the movie was to all intents and purposes over, and even then only briefly.

There was some compensation as the highest profile supporting actor in a cast who were by no means disappointing, largely seasoned comedy professionals all, was Walter Matthau who was a panhandler at the airport and quite possibly genuinely ill, though it was a symptom of the tone that the film was happier to endorse the conman out to make as much money as he could than it was the mental health industry who would presumably be the best people to go to for treatment had this in any way been realistic. Call it a hangover from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, where psychiatrists are seen to be doing more harm than good, then muse over whether that attitude in popular (or trying to be popular) culture was in any way helpful. Anyway, it's not as if The Couch Trip was taking itself seriously as a valid representation of the real issues, it was just having some smart Alec fun with this as a background and the real humour stemmed from how much Burns as Baird could get away with. It just failed to include much wit that would have rescued it from very minor acclaim. Brass music by Michel Colombier.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1390 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Michael Ritchie  (1938 - 2001)

American director, from television, whose films of the 1970s showed an interesting, sardonic take on America. After sour skiing drama Downhill Racer, he had an unhappy experience on the bizarre Prime Cut before a run of acclaimed movies: political satire The Candidate, the excellent Smile, coarse comedy The Bad News Bears, and another sporting comedy Semi-Tough.

Moving into the 1980s, Ritchie lost his edge with such lukewarm efforts as The Island, underwhelming comedy The Survivors, the not bad Fletch and its very bad sequel, Eddie Murphy vehicle The Golden Child and The Couch Trip, but he made a brief return to form in the early 1990s with boxing comedy Diggstown.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Enoch Sneed
  Hannah Prosser
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Butch Elliot
  Rachel Franke
Paul Smith
   

 

Last Updated: