Oh Suburbia, how I miss you…sometimes. I mean it’s a nice place to grow up in and maybe move there when you have a family but when you get to my age the suburbs of Chicago doesn’t quite cut it. Luckily for me the street my family lived on was small so I never experienced the craziness of certain suburbs.
And that’s what “The “Burbs” is all about; how crazy and nosey suburbanites can be. Led by a classic Tom Hanks character in Ray Peterson taking a break from work, a few ridiculous citizens try to find out about their mysterious neighbors who are the most stereotypical example of the term. They never go outside, the house is creepy and everyone else is perturbed.
But, to be fair, most suburbanites have a neighbor that doesn’t take care of their lawn or are very reclusive so there is some stick of truth. And, of course, Ray along with some of the other curious neighbors become too nosey and begin to think that any weird or mysterious things going on in the block must be related to these odd people.
From there Ray and his “pals” start acting very crazy and come up with even the tiniest reasons as well as theories in order to get to the bottom of the Klopeks. In fact, they become the real neighbors you would want to be weary of. Thankfully Carrie Fisher, Ray’s wife Carol, shows some semblance of sanity and tries to level their absurd expectations. But to no avail…
It all culminates in the classic misunderstanding where the main protagonists have become more like villains and most of the unanswered questions have very simple solutions. However the “very” ending kind of throws a wrench into the tone and unfortunately takes away from the overall moral of the film.
Now “The ‘Burbs” was not a bad film per se. There were a few funny moments and it kept you smiling for most of it but, in the end, I didn’t find the movie that memorable. I mean Tom Hanks was great with his normal awkward yelling and the secondary characters were ok but it felt a little too ridiculous. Sure I mentioned that most suburbanites have a strange neighbor but this was a little too absurd as well as predictable at points.
Also while we know Ray is off work for the week, his cohorts don’t seem to actually have jobs. I mean Rumsfield’s spouse is clearly a trophy wife so I wasn’t sure what he did to, you know, make money plus Art seemed to have more free time than anyone else. Now maybe I am thinking a little too hard about this but these issues made a ridiculous story seem even less believable. And, like I mentioned before, the very end of it felt out of place.
Look if you want an ok, quick ‘80s comedy, “The ‘Burbs” is fine. The film will give you a few laughs here and there as well as keep you entertained overall. But, when it’s all said and done, you probably won’t watch it again. Unfortunately, like how some people view the suburbs, there isn’t much of a reason to stay.
+ Danny Reiter is the producer of the Dan Sileo Show and hasn’t seen nearly enough classic movies.