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Thursday, 23 November 2017

Retro Review: Outrageous Fortune (1987)

Outrageous Fortune
Cast: Shelley Long, Bette Midler, Peter Coyote, Robert Prosky, George Carlin, John Schuck, Christopher McDonald
Genre: Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: over $52 million 

Plot: Two women unknowingly share the same man, but when he disappears, both go out looking for him and enter his surprisingly dangerous life 

'Largely Forgotten Female Buddy Comedy That Is A Treat'

A huge hit when it came out in 1987 in theaters across America, but has since been overlooked and not as talked about as a movie, especially in a positive sense, before going into Outrageous Fortune, I wasn't too skeptical about this movie as the plot didn't appeal to me that much and as I thought it would be a comedy that I would lose interest in very quickly. Yet surprise, surprise, it's nice to know that it has confounded all my doubts, because Outrageous Fortune is a pretty good effort coming from director Arthur Miller, with the screenplay penned by Leslie Dixon who did Overboard & that its execution feels somewhat fresh. 

Operating as a screwball-like farce, two bickering women, one an uptight, fickle drama student in Lauren, who speaks in a much more eloquent manner & has nine years of ballet training under her belt, the other a ballsy, brash & in-yer-face porn actress in Sandy, who lacks sophistication, both of them happen to study under the same teacher. Both Lauren and Sandy also end up dating the same man, who claims to be a schoolteacher & they are shocked when their loverboy, Michael is declared dead. It doesn't take long until it turns out that he is a double agent & is wanted by various groups, yet they go out of their way to track him down when they find out he is a scheming liar. But when he turns the tables on the pair and tries to kill Lauren, things get even messier and dangerous. 

Bette Midler reenacts her role as Barbara in Ruthless People in this comedy and when she starts opening and running her mouth, the film becomes more fun. Meanwhile Shelley Long reenacts her Diane role from Cheers and whilst she doesn't make that grand of an impact on the movie, it was intriguing to see in which direction her character was going. Peter Coyote playing a douche-bag is nothing new to me: he did it twice in 1998's Sphere and 2000's Erin Brockovich and he was effective in those types of roles, and in this movie, he convinced me as the turncoat slimeball agent. Outrageous Fortune is fun, but not as hilarious as Ruthless People. It made me chuckle though in places and the film wasn't lacking in scenes that made me smile, whereas the story as engrossing as it gets, is not as edgy and wild as that film. 

When the scene descends to the girls meeting George Carlin's hippie-like character in New Mexico is when the movie starts to go downhill for a short while and it becomes less funny. Thankfully, Shelley Long and Bette Midler's charm manages to maintain my attention and interest, right to the end and their turns just about keep this film afloat. 

Final Verdict:

Whilst the buddy comedy formula has been done exceedingly better in other films, in Outrageous Fortune, its efforts are still efficient and to be applauded. The twists were nice to have and they certainly prolonged my interest in the film and as it went on, the more preoccupied I became with the story. Some people may feel Outrageous Fortune would be better off without the espionage theme: me personally, it galvanises the plot further.

Some of the comedy also made me smile and chuckle and the performances by the two lead actresses are certainly admirable. 

Overlooked during its release, this is well-produced with good, clean fun, well but for Bette Midler's and Shelley Long's F-bombs, I enjoyed this one a good deal.


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