I’m always unsure of what to expect from older comedy films like this. In general I’m a fan of them, including the ones that are quite honestly sort of crap. For someone my age I’m probably a rarity in that I’ve probably seen more comedies from the 60’s-80s than current ones being made, though I also watch more films than most of my friends so who knows.
How to Beat the High Cost of Living isn’t unique on to many levels I suppose. The film sets up three women, who of course are friends, who come across hard times financially and of course to solve that problem they devise a scheme to rob the local mall. Considering the last movie I watched was Tower Heist, it really is interesting how similar all of these heist comedy films are and you can see the same places where they usually succeeded or falter.
The movies funny, but in a subtle way I guess. To me, there are comedies that are just funny because of how things arise and then there are comedies that are funny due to a more elaborate set up of jokes. This movie falls into the first category to me. I didn’t feel like there were a lot of gags meant to make you roll on the floor laughing, but the overall tone of the film was pretty upbeat and there are funny moments. The humor for the most part is pretty clean, which I was sort of disappointed in. I kind of hoped Jane Curtin and Fred Willard’s presence may have allowed for some spicier content.
The acting was good all around. Susan Saint James, Jane Curtin, and Jessica Lange were all good and worked well with each other, although I still feel like they didn’t actually have that much screen time together. I may be wrong, but the movie seemed to have them off following their own stories and occasionally meeting up briefly. Fred Willard has a small part, which sadly isn’t much. He’s not bad, but it’s a bit part where he really doesn’t get a chance to be funny. Eddie Albert is also decent for his small screen time as Jame’s father. Hopefully people recognize the name or man, Garrett Morris, who like Jane Curtin appeared early on in SNL. Sadly he also has one scene (which seems to be most of his parts). He’s great in it, but it’s probably only a minute long.
Overall it was a good film. Not the greatest of its type and considering the success of most of the cast it’s kind of odd that it wasn’t better or a bit raunchier than it is. Still worth checking out depending on your taste in comedies.