A trio of feuding brothers who haven't seen each other for five years reluctantly embark on a road trip orchestrated by their dad. Their mission is to simply fetch a vintage Coupe de Ville from Detroit and deliver it to the family home in Florida - then dad plans to present it to his wife as a birthday present. Tensions run high as the three brothers, one military - one dreamer - and one rebellious teen, must survive each other and ensure the car comes to no harm or face the consequences.
Coupe de Ville is directed by Joe Roth and stars Arye Gross, Daniel Stern & Patrick Dempsey as the brothers, Alan Arkin & Rita Taggart as the parents & Annabeth Gish drops in as the love interest angle. Though holding few surprises with the basic conceptual formula, it's a film that can brighten up the darkest of days and really deserves to be better known. Anyone who has been involved with sibling rivalry can identify with the brothers from the outset, whilst the ultimate revelations of the narrative hit all the emotional beats.
We open with a sequence of the boys as youngsters, naturally they are fighting in the bedroom. Fast forward twelve years and they undertake this journey that has cunningly been set up by the father (a delightful turn from Arkin), cue arguments and a number of humorous set ups executed skilfully by Messrs Stern, Gross and Dempsey. Along the way they of course run into problems and obviously encounter the usual array of interesting characters that tend to fill out the "road movie" genre. Fun as it is though, pic is not all about the comedy, it has something to say, and it's possibly through the more serious and poignant moments that Coupe de Ville soars a little higher than your basic coming of age picture.
The cast are strong right through and Roth has a very easy on the eye directing style, while the soundtrack is top dollar for those into 50s and 60s rockers. There's no new ground being found here, something that has in the past been used by notable critics to beat it over the head with. Yet it's an easy film to fall in love with, it has a lot of resonance to those in tune with the themes pulsing away, and ultimately it's as funny as much as it is a worthy message picture. Go on, give it a go if you get the chance, it just might strike the same chord with you as it did with myself. 8/10
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