LOST IN AMERICA is a classic American comedy from the mid-80s, satirising our addiction to commercial success. It's directed by, written by and stars Albert Brooks (BROADCAST NEWS) as a successful and smug but neurotic advertising exec and a big LA firm. He's just sold his house to trade up to an even larger one and is about to order a stupidly expensive car. But when the promotion he's been expecting is denied him he loses his temper and storms out of his job, persuading his wife Linda (Julie Hagerty - AIRPLANE!) to join him by selling everything they own, buying a motorhome, and travelling through America to "find themselves". The problem is that they're pretty feckless, obviously have to lose their money to force them to face reality, and see their yuppie entitlement testing in the "real world".
The movie holds up really well, thanks to the fact that we still live in a time where people talk about finding themselves and living authentic lives, but are addicted to Stuff and Status. The lack of self-awareness drives the comedy - every time the husband meets someone and says he's trying to live like EASY RIDER it's so palpably absurd it cracks you up. But what's amazing is how far the people he says this too believe him or at least admire him for trying. There's also the daily insults and grappling to deal with the difference between commercial promise and reality that get to us all, even today - like when you lay out $44k for a car, all in, but the leather seats are really vinyl, or when you bribe the hotel reservations clerk for the bridal suite, and it turns out to be the "junior" version and really rather ordinary. Brooks just gets the indignities of modern life. The result is a film that is genuinely smart, laugh-out-loud funny, and yet darkly honest about the compromises we are all forced to make. It's basically saying we all aim high but fundamentally want a nice easy life. I'm comfortable with that.
LOST IN AMERICA has a running time of 91 minutes and is rated R.