Tom Hanks plays Ray Peterson, ostensibly taking a relaxing week off work, but in reality, driving his wife Carol (Carrie Fisher) slowly up the wall.
Along with his gluttonous and massively irritating neighbour Art Weingartner (comedian Rick Ducommun) and flaky ex-soldier Lt. Mark Rumsfield (Bruce Dern) he becomes obsessed with his new neighbours – the Klopeks.
These three outlandish outsiders are all men and only come out at night, while unearthly roaring sounds emanate from the depths of their ramshackle house, and it looks as though all of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic has set up shop in their basement.
Ray, Art and Rumsfield determine to get to the bottom of the Klopeks’ weirdness by fair means or foul.
Are the Klopeks merely naturally reticent – as is their right – or are they really burying people in the backyard? It’s to director Joe Dante’s credit that you don’t know until right at the end.
Tom Hanks tarnishes his acting reputation in a throwaway role and Dana Olsen’s stale script unfolds more in the manner of a TV sitcom than a full-bodied movie.
It’s a bedraggled comedy, desperately in search of laughs and finding none on hand.
Lt. Mark Rumsfield
Dr Werner Klopek