A couple swap city life for the country, but their picturesque new hometown turns out to be just a little bit different to what they were expecting.A couple swap city life for the country, but their picturesque new hometown turns out to be just a little bit different to what they were expecting.A couple swap city life for the country, but their picturesque new hometown turns out to be just a little bit different to what they were expecting.
The film wonderfully skews the convention of the innocent country rubes moving to the big city and being overwhelmed by its meanness and craziness. Here, it's the cityfolk who move wide-eyed to the country - and are amazed to find there a roll call of crazies, misanthropes, and just plain wierdos. Does this view of country life have any basis in reality? Probably not, but then the film isn't really trying to be a satire but instead a pure lunatic comic fantasy. And it gives us a rich array of supporting characters - from the town sheriff who hasn't yet passed his driving test and so must ride around in cabs, to the owner of an antiques store whose merchandise are all personal. All these characters are priceless, and the film just keeps coming up with more and more of them - until it has created this pleasantly bizarre and warped Otherworld, of a kind that only comedy can truly provide.
Best of all is the way in which Chase and Smith react to all of this and try to make some sense of it. I very clearly say "Chase and Smith" because the film belongs equally to both of them. It had to be billed as a Chevy Chase Comedy, of course, since he's the big star here, but this is no star trip; from the very first, the wife is made an equal partner in the trials and the laughs, and it's the way the two go through their new life together that provides much of the comedy. It also helps take the edge off of the usual Chevy Chase persona: in Funny Farm he's neither glib and disinterested (as in the Fletch movies) nor over the top silly (like in the Vacation movies). He comes across instead like a normal, personable guy who just finds himself caught in insane circumstances.
Finally, the climactic sequence of the film is absolutely priceless - one of the most brilliantly sustained comic set-pieces you'll see in any movie, of any era. Funny Farm is the type of movie which gives you a great time and leaves you with a big, dopey grin on your face after it's all over. Trust me, even if you don't normally like Chevy Chase, you'll love Funny Farm.
- Feb 17, 2000