- Movie Rating -

The Couch Trip (1988)

| January 15, 1988

The Couch Trip looks and sounds like a movie that might have come off better in the pitch meeting.  A radio psychiatrist reaches his breaking point and decides to go away for a while and leaves as his replacement a man who is, himself, a mental patient.  The idea, you see, is that the psychiatrist doesn’t want to leave anyone in charge who could easily replace him.  But the mental patient

There’s a germ of an idea there, but its an idea that works better as a concept than as a movie.  In order for the movie to work, it would take real imagination, real comic zeal and hard work at the screenplay level.  But The Couch Trip seems to have been assembled with the idea that it’s concept can be rescued by the presence of top comedian.  Charles Grodin plays the psychiatrist.  Dan Ackroyd plays the mental patient.  Walter Matthau, a street person posing as a priest in order to raise money to save some plants.

See, there are seeds of ideas there, but no real personalities in place.  Grodin is brimming with pomposity.  Ackroyd is the nut who is smarter than anyone gives him credit for.  And Matthau is sweet and also suicidal.  But there’s nothing outside of that.  We are expected to laugh at that concept and it doesn’t gel.  It doesn’t pop.  It doesn’t find its feet.  We are supposed to be amused merely by the idea that these people have mental deficiencies which, by movie terms, makes them cute in some way.  It doesn’t work and the movie is modestly funny and a disappointment.

About the Author:

Jerry Roberts is a film critic and operator of two websites, Armchair Cinema and Armchair Oscars.
(1988) View IMDB Filed in: Comedy