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Lost in America (1985)

If you ever feel the desire to quit the rat race, liquidate your assets and hit the open road in search of freedom and adventure, you’d better wait until you’ve seen Lost In America – Albert Brooks’ often hilarious cautionary fable about a pair of yuppies in revolt.

David Howard (Albert Brooks) is an up-and-coming young Los Angeles executive who is all set for a promotion to Senior Vice President of his advertising firm. He’s buying a $450,000 house, choosing the most tasteful colour combination for a new Mercedes and, according to his wife, Linda (Julie Hagerty), becoming unbearably “reasonable”.

David is so certain he’ll get his VP stripes that when his boss (Michael Greene) announces someone else for the job, he chortles, “OK, now let’s bring in Allen Funt and get this thing over with!”.

But it’s no prank. An infuriated David resigns after making a few unprintable suggestions to his boss.

He persuades Linda to quit her job too, and they sell their house and cars, cash in their stocks, and hit the highway in a Winnebago.

They still have a nest egg – until they hit Vegas and Linda’s weakness for gambling leads to the loss of their fortune.

David and Linda are reduced to living in a trailer park in Arizona and working at menial jobs.

The hapless couple faces as many impossible problems as the Griswolds in National Lampoon’s Vacation but the laughs – which are frequent – have more resonance because they’re grounded in reality.

Supporting players include TV producer Garry Marshall as a casino manager; Herb Nanas (the film’s executive producer) as a rich man adrift in Arizona; Ernie Brown as a phlegmatic pharmacist; Art Frankel as an employment counsellor; Donald Gibb as an amorous ex-convict; Joey Coleman as the honcho of a hot dog stand and Charles Boswell as a highway patrolman whose overpowering affection for Easy Rider provides the Howards with one of their few lucky breaks.

David Howard
Albert Brooks
Linda Howard
Julie Hagerty
Receptionist
Sylvia Farrel
Model
Tina Kincaid
David’s Secretary
Candy Ann Brown
Patty
Maggie Roswell
Hans (voice)
Hans Wagner
Paul Dunn
Michael Greene
Paul Dunn’s Secretary
Brandy Rubin
Brad Tooley
Tom Tarpey
Security Guard
Robert Hughes
Ray
Raynold Gideon
Motorcyclist
John Di Fusco
Front Desk Clerk
Michael Cornelison
Bellman
Radu Gavor
Casino Manager
Garry Marshall
Mercedes Driver
Herb Nanas
Pharmacist
Ernie Brown
Skippy
Joey Coleman
Highway Patrolman
Charles Boswell

Director
Albert Brooks