Funny Farm (1988)

There is no rime or reason, but I have been a fan of Funny Farm since I was a kid. My grandmother introduced me to the film which we owned on VHS. When I got my first TV/VCR in my bedroom, this particular film was one I would watch regularly. 

Since I appreciate Chevy Chase in Christmas Vacation, it was easy for me to like his performance in this one. As I look back at his career change in this story, I have often wondered how something like that would work out for me. I’ve always wanted to be a prominent city sports journalist, and I struggle daily to piece a novel together. It’s in my mind and just needs to be unlocked.

Andrew Farmer (Chase) is a humble guy who just wants to blend into his new community (through sports) even though everything he touches turns into a disaster. Meanwhile, a brewing subplot is building when his wife Elizabeth (Madolyn Smith) stumbles into a new career. When everything comes to a head, the Farmers decide to let the move and their reversal of fortunes lead to a divorce. Since they live in the middle of nowhere in upstate in New York, this divorce isn’t going to be short and to the point. 

After all the chaos they have experienced together in Redbud, the pending sale of their house ends up as the spark they needed to reignite their fiery romance. 

The movie works for several reasons, and the main one has to be because it’s believable. The characters showcase a wide range of human emotions, from jealousy to depression, with some alcoholism, joy, excitement, and desperation sprinkled in to keep things interesting.

Elizabeth and Andrew Farmer are ordinary people doing ordinary things. Funny Farm is billed as a comedy, although it is not a non-stop laugh fest. There are plenty of moments that will make you chuckle, however much like the movie Funny People, this isn’t as funny as you would expect. 6/10


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