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Funny Farm (1988)

PG | | Comedy, Drama | 3 June 1988 (USA)
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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.

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(book), (screenplay)
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Director: Michael Ritchie
Stars: Chevy Chase, Jack Palance, Dianne Wiest
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Andy Farmer
... Elizabeth Farmer (as Madolyn Smith)
... Sheriff Ledbetter
... Michael Sinclair
Jack Gilpin ... Bud Culbertson
Caris Corfman ... Betsy Culbertson
William Severs ... Newspaper Editor
... Crocker
... Mickey
William Duell ... Old Character
Helen Lloyd Breed ... Old Operator
Kit Le Fever ... Young Operator (as Le Fevre)
... Marion Corey Jr.
... Gus Lotterhand
... Mrs. Ethel Dinges
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Storyline

When Andy and Elizabeth buy a farm in Vermont, they can't imagine the trouble that awaits them. Andy has quit his job as a sports journalist and is planning to use the peace and quiet of the country to write the Great American Novel. From the moment the movers' truck gets lost with their furniture, though, there's little peace and less quiet. From a manical mailman to a dead body buried in the garden, Andy is distracted by the town and its wacky inhabitants. His effort at a novel is mediocre, at best, and he's threatened by Elizabeth's foray into writing when she attempts a children's book. Can the Farmers survive the townsfolk and each other? Written by Rick Munoz <rick.munoz@his.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Chevy Chase finds life in the country isn't what it's cracked up to be!

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Certificate:

PG | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

3 June 1988 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Aventuras y desventuras de un yuppie en el campo  »

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Box Office

Budget:

$19,000,000 (estimated)

Gross USA:

$25,537,221
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

One of the main movie posters featured a major image with a broken egg cracked and spilling down Chevy Chase's forehead. Such a scene does not actually appear in the picture. See more »

Goofs

As Elizabeth strolls along the shoreline waiting for Andy, we see a sweeping shot of the lake behind her. In the next cut, Andy is swimming to shore in an area of the lake that was clear of swimmers. See more »

Quotes

Andy Farmer: You don't know a thing about writing. You're a Goddamn schoolteacher.
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Connections

Referenced in Before I Die (2003) See more »

Soundtracks

Deck The Halls
(uncredited)
Traditional tune, lyrics by Thomas Oliphant
Performed by Redbud Band
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Overlooked comedy gem
17 February 2000 | by See all my reviews

Now, admittedly, I saw this during a period of my life when I believed Chevy Chase could do no wrong but even so, this is one that holds up, and was unfairly lambasted by the critics. From the ads (if you can even remember that far back!) this looked like it was just going to be a "Vacation" rip-off, sort of "The Griswolds Move To the Country." Believe me, the humor in this film is much slyer and more charming than anything in the Vacation pictures (of which the first one was solid, the next two lame). The film is about a sportswriter (Chase) who quits his job in order to move out to the country with his wife (the wonderful Madolyn Smith) and write the Great American Novel. The movie details his gradual come uppance, as he realizes that neither country living nor his talent is all that it's cracked up to be.

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.


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