Review: The Accidental Tourist (1988)

The Accidental Tourist


Lawrence Kasdan
Frank Galati, Lawrence Kasdan (Book: Anne Tyler)
121 min.
William Hurt, Kathleen Turner, Geena Davis, Amy Wright, David Ogden Stiers, Ed Begley Jr., BIll Pullman, Robert Gorman, Bradley Mott, Seth Granger, Amanda Houck, Caroline Houck, London Nelson
MPAA Rating

Buy on DVD



Source Material

You can feel the ’80s permeating off this film from the eccentric fashion to the contemporaneous dialogue. Perhaps it made more of an impression in its day, but today it seems hopelessly out of date. The only reason the film succeeds at all is the magic of Geena Davis who enlivens much of the production while William Hurt and Kathleen Turner seem to suck the life out of their own scenes. Davis is the only actor to display anything in the way of credible emotion despite seeming loony for the early parts of the film. Desperate to find someone to be with, she shamelessly flirts with a travel guide writer attempting to kennel his dog while he flies off to write his next book.

Hurt’s writer is damaged goods having lost his son to a senseless act of violence. His only really good scene is when he must identify his son’s body) and his wife has left him because he’s been unable to connect with her. For much of the film Hurt’s performance seems to make sense, but even after he’s realized what he wants to do and who he wants to be with, he doesn’t seem to perk up emotionally leaving us wondering what kind of life it must be to live with him. His family is unnecessarily quirky and doesn’t really seem to be of need to the plot except to stretch it to its two-hour length. David Ogden Stiers, Ed Begley Jr and Amy Wright appear, opine and evaporate. There are a few kernels of wisdom within the framework of the film, but overall it’s a rather pale film lacking imagination or interest.
Review Written
July 26, 2010

1 Comment

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  1. This is not a ‘pale film’ but a classic that bears repeated viewing. Finely nuanced characterisation and well-paced plotting throughout. Fully deserving of oscar nominations.

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