- Movie Rating -

Goodbye, New York (1985)

| May 17, 1985

I don’t want to sound cruel, but Julie Haggerty is not fit to be the lead in a movie.  She’s too mousey, too small, too squeaky, too frantic.  She can’t carry a movie all by herself.  She was good in Airplane! and she was good in Lost in America largely because she had people to play against.  Left on her own she’s irritating.

That’s the central problem with Goodbye, New York, an annoying comedy that is made all the worse because its view of the current world comes out of the blissful ignorance of Hollywood movies made in the 1950s.  She plays a New Yorker named Nancy Callagan with too many problems on her hands.  She is married to a man that she discovers is not only a drug dealer but is also cheating on her.  It’s the affair that sets her off, so she impulsively gets on a plane and heads to Paris, but an overdose of sedatives causes her to oversleep and she ends up 2000 miles east in Tel Aviv.

Broke and with no luggage, Nancy is a stranger in a strange land.  No money, no friends, nothing.  But she gets help from a friendly cab driver (because of course she does) and he sets her up in a cheap kibbutz that has already been rented out to another tenant.  He is David and he is played by the film’s writer and director Amos Kollek and they scream at each other at first and eventually they begin to fall in love.

Naturally – shades of Private Benjamin – Nancy’s spoiled rich-bitch façade begins to break.  She is forced to work for the first time in her life and so we get all manner of dull, listless fish-out-of-water jokes, commentaries about how dumb Americans are when faced with people who are NOT Americans, of course, great galloping gobs of Haggerty being hysterical.  I think Haggerty is cute, but a little of her goes a long way.  We don’t take the leap with her character that we did with Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin in believing that her experience has reorganized her priorities.  Plus, we can never nail down her character.  One minute she’s whimpering over breaking a nail and the next she is issuing CPR in a serious scene that seems right out of a different movie.

Worse than that, the movie seems to have no knowledge of the current world.  Haggerty is stuck is Israel, one of the most interesting and one of the most troubled areas of the world but the movie comments on it like it was some kind of out-of-town bizarro world that is weird because it doesn’t have a McDonald’s.  What decade is this? 

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1985) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy