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THE DAYTRIPPERS

USA, 1996 (MIFF 1997, International)

Director: Greg Mottola

An appealing souffle of modern marriage and family tribulations, Greg Mottola's first feature rises high above the sitcom standard of so many contemporary romantic comedies. Eliza finds a poetic love letter addressed to her husband, Louis, and rushes to her parents for advice. Her mother's stern counsel prevails; Eliza must confront him at his Manhattan publishing office.

Eliza, her parents, younger sister Jo and Jo's boyfriend, Carl, cram into the family station wagon and head off in pursuit of her apparently wayward husband. Louis is nowhere to be found; his boss suggests they crash a book party he is supposed to be attending later. Audiences are treated to the comedy that inevitably ensues when far too many people are trapped in the same vehicle for too long. Tensions between generations and partners reach flashpoint, and the original purpose of the journey almost disappears out the window - along with take away containers, coffee cups...

Inevitably the family stumbles on the truth about themselves long before the riddle of the letter is solved. A talented cast keeps this urban odyssey rolling along, and Mottola has a sharp ear for the dialogue of vulnerable people in love.

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