Last Resort | Chicago Reader

Last Resort

Charles Grodin as a harried Chicago businessman who drags his wife and kids off to a forlorn Central American beach resort, where the facilities look like something out of Solzhenitsyn, the French counselors are surly and dictatorial, and the woods are full of guerrillas. It's fun to see Roger Corman's low, low budget aesthetic (the film was shot on Catalina Island, for a cost reported at $200,000) applied to a comedy, and the poverty of the production merges amusingly with the shoddiness of the setting—on both sides of the camera, this movie is up against it. Directed by Zane Buzby (she was the wired-up hippie girl in Up in Smoke, and plays a bit here as well), the film adheres to a certain amount of psychological realism in defining its foreground characters, which makes the wildly stylized nightmare comedy that befalls them that much more pointed and funny. Grodin is still mining an early 70s humor of sexual embarrassment, though he's made an art of desperate underreaction—scaling his outrage and anxiety down to a transparently false affability. Robin Pearson Rose is natural and appealing as his commonsensical wife, and there are some good turns in a supporting cast of then largely unknown LA comics.

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