The Bye Bye Man
The Bye Bye Man is the kind of film that is so boring and bereft of anything of possible interest that it becomes infuriating.
Every time I see a Winnebago motor home, I have the same fantasy as the hero of "Lost in America." In my dream, I quit my job, sell everything I own, buy the Winnebago and hit the open road. Where do I go? Look for me in the weather reports. I'll be parked by the side of a mountain stream, listening to Mozart on Compact Discs. All I'll need is a wok and a paperback.
In "Lost in America," Albert Brooks plays an advertising executive in his 30s who realizes that dream. He leaves his job, talks his wife into quitting hers, and they point their Winnebago down that long, lonesome highway. This is not, however a remake of "The Long, Long Trailer." Brooks puts a different spin on things.
For example, when movie characters leave their jobs, it's usually because they've been fired, they've decided to take an ethical stand or the company has gone broke. Only in a movie by Brooks would the hero quit to protest a "lateral transfer" to New York. There's something intrinsically comic about that: He's taking a stand, all right, but it's a narcissistic one. He's quitting because he wants to stay in Los Angeles, he thinks he deserves to be named vice president and he doesn't like the traffic in New York.
"Lost in America" is being called a yuppie comedy, but it's really about the much more universal subjects of greed, hedonism and panic. What makes it so funny is how much we can identify with it. Brooks plays a character who is making a lot of money, but not enough; who lives in a big house, but is outgrowing it; who drives an expensive car, but not a Mercedes-Benz; who is a top executive, but not a vice president. In short, he is a desperate man, trapped by his expectations.