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CHEVY CHASE AND MADOLYN SMITH STAR IN 'FUNNY FARM'

The Dog gets a bone in George Roy Hill's Swan Song FUNNY FARM
At first viewing, FUNNY FARM, on the heels of Chevy Chase's best performance and most hilarious vehicle backing up a perfectly suited character in the Neo Noir comedy FLETCH, and following his most "doing something other than being himself" turn as an obliviously optimistic suburban dad in NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION, following an underrated role that goes beneath yet equals Rodney Dangerfield in CADDYSHACK, feels like it could have starred any comedic actor and not just the tall subtle performer whose roles all seem intentionally catered to. He began his career as a sort of deadpan M.C. of the original SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE, and then wound up a charming leading man in hit and miss cinematic ventures including the Hitchcock sendup FOUL PLAY with Goldie Hawn and then a followup adhering to his brand of physical action, SEEMS LIKE OLD TIMES... So it's never been like Chevy to fill in anyone's else shoes but his very own...

Sarah Michelle Gellar Funny Farm cameo at the front right
So not only is FUNNY FARM one of the last great Chevy Chase vehicles before he hit rock bottom with FLETCH LIVES and, after losing too much weight, floundered for purpose during the 1990's before hitting beneath rock bottom on his own late night talk show...

But it's the last motion picture directed by BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE STING ACCORDING TO SLAPSHOT George Roy Hill. Beyond the 80's techno-fun soundtrack, sounding like "Harold Faltermeyer Light", the film plays out splendidly by unveiling the misadventure of a city couple, Chase and scene-stealing wife Madolyn Smith, stuck in a Murphy's Law purgatory template, "What might go wrong will go wrong and DOES go wrong," taken to the edge of the nerves but without being too much for the audience to handle. In other words, our heroes are more tortured than we are. Thus it's a blast watching their lives continuously deconstruct, with the aid of perfectly-timed inserts and non-punchline/character-driven payoffs, caused by either the animals and hijinks within their rural "dream house" setting or the surrounding small town of Red Bluff, a Twilight Zone with no escape.

Dog's dead-pan hangover
FUNNY FARM never hits a peak too soon to where the best scenes peter out by the time the last act has to follow the storyline through, like many a comedic film...

MovieScore: ****
In fact everything is so closely tied together that the dwindling marital relationship, exceeding all the misfires around them and becoming downright personal, is key – especially for poor Chevy's Andy Farmer, who, during one scene where he's watching his wife reading his novel manuscript (that he left his cozy sports writing job to complete), anticipating what he wants her reactions to be: anyone who's written anything will know how it feels when someone else reads your artistic endeavor, in the same room! Leading to Madolyn Corey's best moments involving a breakdown that's not only hilarious but, like the movie itself, trumps the Comedy genre and makes the people mean more than what they're constantly tugging from their audience: making FARM not only FUNNY, but completely entertaining.
Chevy Chase Madolyn Smith Funny Farm Madolyn Smith Chevy Chase George Roy Hill Funny Farm Chevy Chase
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