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The Burbs

Year: 1989
Director: Joe Dante
Cast: Tom Hanks, Carrie Fisher, Bruce Dern, Corey Feldman, Dick Miller
Lacklustre comedy that looks like it was supposed to have been much funnier than it was.

Some sort of social comment on the state of life in the suburbs of middle America, it's never entirely clear what it's satirising, whether it's the nosiness of people with quiet, middle of the road lives or the potential menace behind every white picket fence.

Hanks and Fisher both look pretty bored, although this was one of Hanks' first roles outside the goofy shtick that saw him through Bachelor Party and TV's Bosom Buddies, so he was probably still finding his nice-guy feet.

Most of the other characters are ineffectual, particularly the completely redundant Corey Feldman, extolling the excitement of the neighbourly shenanigans to his girlfriend as he watches it all unfold.

When the creepy new family (led by the Dr Crippen-like Henry Gibson) turns out to be involved in something sinister that the neighbourhood (at the urging of militant Bruce Dern), it almost seems to be undoing its own satire.

In poking fun at these bored people who imagine more is going on than really is, it's contradicting itself by saying they were right all along in the same way Hitchock did by making Lars Thorwald a killer as Jeffries suspects throughout Rear Window.

As far as the comedy goes, you wait through most of the movie for the laughs to materialise.

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