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Funny Farm

Funny Farm

What She said:

She

No shocker, the first movie that my dad wanted to watch upon receiving Amazon Prime streaming video to his TV was Funny Farm.  In fact, it was the first movie that we watched when he got his first DVD player.  We’re all about history and traditions in our family.  And so, on a dreary, rainy January day, my family sat down and watched this film together.  I actually had not seen it in several years, and it looked better than ever in streaming HD.  With jokes that stand the test of time, and a light and easy to please story, Funny Farm is just as enjoyable today as it was ten or even twenty years ago.

This movie tells the story of a seemingly normal married couple, Andy (Chevy Chase) and Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith Osborne) Farmer.  Andy has left his job as a sportswriter and moved with his wife to the very small town of Rosebud so that he can get the seclusion he needs to write his novel.  Apparently, he’s planning on writing some sort of crime/mystery book about a heist, and has received an advance from a publisher to pursue his dream.  The Farmers buy a somewhat rundown house on a beautiful piece of property, but they’re confronted by problems from the second they arrive.  The phone is not installed properly, the furniture is late, and everyone they meet in town hates them.  As things get worse and worse for the Farmers, their marriage begins to crumble.  Is it too late to step backward to their former life and get the heck out of Rosebud?

Funny Farm

This film is your typically ‘80s Chevy Chase faire.  It’s riddled with ironic and situational comedy, and Chase plays up the idealistic, yet dopey Andy Farmer.  He’s always hoping for the best, but being served the worst.  Elizabeth is not the best wife in the world, but she’s trying to be as patient as possible with her husband and her new surroundings.  She hates that she had to leave her job as a school teacher and small town life doesn’t seem to agree with her.  It’s fun to watch all of the instances of things going wrong for Andy and Elizabeth.  Just when you think it cannot get worse, it does.  Plus, this movie is filled with colorful peripheral characters from in town.  In particular, the drunk and grumpy mailman stands out to me. 

Of course, there is a very ‘80s element about this movie, but revisiting it in HD, it really did look newer.  The comedy doesn’t make this film too dated, and so it works even in 2014.  This film is surprisingly funny and actually has some heart to it, as Andy and Elizabeth must turn to those who hate them most in an attempt to leave Rosebud.  What they find is that they have actually grown to like the quirkiness of the town, and that they’re prepared to start a brand new life together in this place.  You get a relatively easy to watch movie with a textbook happy ending, and all for free if you have Amazon Prime.  You cannot beat that deal.

By the way, my favorite character in this entire movie is Yellow Dog.  I want him so bad.  You’ll see why.

Thumbs up.

 

What He said:

He

A couple of weeks ago the She went to visit Momma and Poppa She for the night, and this movie is a classic in their family, so they all sat down and enjoyed it one cold winter evening.

Funny Farm

Speaking of cold winter evenings, we had some snow dumped on us one recent night, and as a result, I had the next day off. A whole day to do nothing! So what did I do? I read comic books, played video games, and watched a few movies. It was like being in heaven.  This was one of the movies I watched.

Andy Farmer (Chevy Chase) is a writer of a sports column for a newspaper in New York City. Well that is until recently. He has decided to pursue a dream of is to retire from the business, move to the country, and become a novelist.

Notice I said his dream. His wife Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith Osborne) isn’t too crazy about the idea. She likes the city, has a job as a teacher, and really doesn’t want to give that up. That being said, she’s a pretty good sport about dropping everything and moving off to the country to pursue her husband’s ambitions.

Things start to go very wrong for the Farmers very fast. First, the movers are a day late, forcing them to spend the first night in their home on the floor, and without food. Additionally, their mailman is a lunatic. He drives by their house in his total jalopy, making all kinds of noise, and not even slowing down to deliver their mail. He just throws it out the window. Some issues with the house and property begin to pop up. And for some reason, most of the town appears to hate them.

Funny Farm

After a while, it’s not just external issues affecting the relationship, they start fighting with one another too. Things only get worse when Andy finds out Elizabeth has been dabbling with some writing of her own. Did I mention he’s been having trouble putting his book together? Oh yeah, things are definitely going to a get a little testy in that situation.

This movie is your classic Chevy Chase 80s flick. In fact, I made a comment to the She that in my mind this movie takes place in the same universe as the National Lampoons movies and Andy Farmer just so happens to look like Clark Griswold. They say everybody’s got a twin and I think Andy is Clark’s. He’s the same kind of idealist guy who longs for the American dream.

The movie also has the same kind of humor. It’s got a lot of physical comedy, colorful supporting characters – one of which is a hilarious dog – and Andy even drags Elizabeth on crazy adventures the way Clark does with Ellen. The only difference is this movie has a slightly darker tone at times. This movie has a little bit of The War of Roses thrown in there.  So if that’s your kind of thing, this is worth a watch. Funny movie that feels familiar, but with a slightly different element thrown in.  

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was written for your reading pleasure on January 25, 2014

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