HONKY TONK FREEWAY is akin to doing a belly flop off the Space Needle. It really was a road to nowhere for the producers of this legendary catastrophe. Well, ‘legendary’ only in movie biz circles, since hardly anyone went to see it and those who did forgot it before they got home. Yank-slamming Brit snob John Schlesinger directed, Lord Lew Grade and pals in lord-dom sank $25,000,000 into this 1981 parody of us colonial bumpkins, earning back a grand total of $600,000, which they presumably blamed on America.
Stitched together (the 107 minutes was left from Schlesinger’s three-hour initial cut) as a satiric poke at contemporary USA types, it failed almost totally to dredge up laughs, insights or plaudits, despite the capability of its director, the possibilities in its story and the talents of its cast.
‘Representative’ carloads of cross-country travelers are thrown together in a tiny Florida town, whose residents hatch a plot to boom their burg with an improvised freeway off ramp. Flat and boring, despite the gaggle of characters, the scripts topical tosspot of drug/sex/corruption jokes clinking all down the line. Take an alternate route.
The cast: William Devane, Beverly D’Angelo, Beau Bridges, Geraldine Page, Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, George Dzundza, Teri Garr, Joe Grifasi, Howard Hesseman, David Rasche, Daniel Stern, Peter Billingsley.