Luckless couple Walter and Anna are conned into buying a bargain priced mansion, only to find it fall to pieces as soon as they move in. The race is on to get it renovated before it completely collapses.
A stretched Tom Hanks comedy, built with the sole purpose of literal cinematic wreckage — the gradual collapse of a house played as extended slapstick routine. It doesn’t work, there’s nothing but dust in the air and plaster on the floor, with Hanks and Shelley Long straining to turn desperation into punchlines. There isn’t really a point here, just a juvenile love of destruction, the symbolic piano crashing to the floor ad infinitum.
There are those, assuredly, who might relate to home renovation tribulations and builders shaking their sorry heads, while snickering to themselves as they estimate, “two weeks,” on repairs. But funny, how? Yet, that is the purpose of director Richard Benjamin, with Steven Spielberg also putting his name to the duff project as some extraneous producer, who never finds anything in the characters, their hopes and dreams dashed by their situation, beyond physical collapse. Hanks and Shelley deliver little charm, and little brain, making it hard to sympathise.
You have to congratulate the art director and his team for their imploding household, the final crash of the huge staircase has a disaster-movie like flourish to it. There is genuine invention in the mishap, chains of events that grow inexorably bigger in their destructive power. But it is a masterclass in ruin, working on too many levels.
This has some very, very funny bits...interspersed with a very slight film.