The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum

THE COUCH TRIP (1988) ** ½

Dan Aykroyd stars as a patient in a Chicago nuthouse. A noted psychiatrist and radio call-in host (Charles Grodin) in Beverly Hills has a nervous breakdown and hires Aykroyd’s doctor to be his replacement. Aykroyd escapes the mental institution and goes to Beverly Hills where he poses as the doctor and takes over the radio show. Within days, the show is a huge success, but eventually everyone figures out he isn’t who he says he is.

The Couch Trip has several funny individual scenes, but as a whole, it never quite works. The scenes of Aykroyd making time with his doctor’s secretary (Victoria Jackson) are funny, and Aykroyd gets lots of laughs while doing the radio show. However, the subplot about Grodin’s lawyer (Richard Romanus) sleeping with his wife (Mary Gross) could’ve easily been excised.

Likewise, the stuff with a street preacher (Walter Matthau) doesn’t add much to the film. He gets a few laughs, but the subplot is an odd fit to say the least. Grodin is woefully underused and you’ll wish his part was bigger and Matthau’s role was limited to an extended cameo. As it stands, he’s an underutilized supporting character whose potential is never fully realized.

Speaking of the supporting cast, there are far too many inconsequential characters and director Michael (Fletch) Ritchie has trouble juggling them all. He also allows the Mistaken Identity clichés to pile up by the end too. The film’s targets (the Beverly Hills lifestyle, psychiatry, call-in radio shows, etc.) are all too broad and it just doesn’t have the balls to skewer them properly.

Still, there are plenty of solid laughs to be had, especially early on. If anything, it’s a good vehicle for Aykroyd’s comedic skills. It’s no Doctor Detroit or anything, but what can be? We also get a pretty funny, if completely random Chevy Chase cameo as well.

Tags: c, comedy

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