MovieChat Forums > Modern Problems (1981) Discussion > Strange mess of a film; enjoyable overal...

Strange mess of a film; enjoyable overall, but could have been excellent


Just watched this again after not having seen it since 1981 (well, or given the release date, I probably saw it in early 1982). The beginning--the air traffic controller stuff, Max Fielder's (Chevy's character) Murphy's Law series of problems, etc., is friggin hilarious, with tons of rapid-fire, layered jokes, many relatively subtle or conceptual.

However, once Max gets home after being "slimed" by the nuclear waste, the tone and unfortunately the pacing completely change. To me it plays like they were making it up as they went along from that point, and they didn't really know what to do with the material. There are still enough great moments, but they never capitalize very well on Max's new abilities, and there are way too many "dead spots" where they're kind of just treading water. Also, too much of Chevy's performance in the second half of the film consists of doing relatively inscrutable mugging.

The fact that they eventually decided to do a demonic possession spoof was fun, although it doesn't make a whole lot of sense in context, and it's ultimately undercooked as a possession spoof and a bit too serious.

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The movie fell apart at the nose-bleed scene. After that it was lost.



"I will not go down in history as the greatest mass-murderer since Adolf Hitler!" - Merkin Muffley

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The movie fell apart at the nose-bleed scene. After that it was lost.


The cottage scenes are actually my favorite in the movie. Nell Carter alone is worth the price of admission.

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I'm with you OP...it's a guilty pleasure film for a few reasons for me. It's NOT one of Chevy Chase's bests, but I never enjoyed any of the Fletch films and this ranks higher for me. IT's stupid at points, silly...fun.

The beginning is funny, especially for its time (Reagan fired all the Air Traffic Controllers, the ones that were left were underpaid and over worked!), Nell Carter's character was funny...but I really, really LIKED Dabney Coleman's character, he was such an a-hole, it was funny. I like the first Restaurant scene of everyone eye flirting was fun the second one with Barry at dinner was gross and funny and what a great way to get that guy who is trying to take your ex-gal pal is funny, and of course the ballet scene was to die for if you ask me. It was so silly and stupid, it was funny. And of course, the dinner at the cottage, funny. I think the very end -- was a real let down though. I would have loved to see him realize his girl wasn't really there for him and he's find another kinda thing.

A remake is in the works, I'd like to see that with the "Modern Problems" in 2016 (2017, 2018) of a guy who has little self esteem and finds himself with this power..it should be either a black comedy -- or a drop dead funny one, light on the slapstick. Now, they can do more and the special effects would be much better.



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Aw, I loved the ending with Max and Darcy. They were just so cute together, and their relationship is one of the things I love most about this movie! There's going to be a remake? That would be very interesting to see. Who would you cast in a remake as Max? I'm thinking either Johnny Depp or Ryan Reynolds. :)

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Aw, I loved the ending with Max and Darcy. They were just so cute together, and their relationship is one of the things I love most about this movie! There's going to be a remake? That would be very interesting to see. Who would you cast in a remake as Max? I'm thinking either Johnny Depp or Ryan Reynolds. :)


Ah..she's fine, but was too easily led astray, and maybe they can go with that. Kinda he realizes that how over the top Mark Winslow was...he really had a point.

I think they should get a good young comedian for the role, I don't know who.

But for the Mark Winslow part I was thinking of someone opposite of Dabney Coleman like a Kevin Hart. I can even see Zach Galifianakis in the Brian role really.

I'd like a cameo of a Will Farrell as Barry. If not Will, then a REAL opposite like Jeff Daniels or Steve Carell.

And I want to see Leslie Jones in the Nell Carter role. She's sassy.

If my answers frighten you then you should cease asking scary questions.

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