Welcome to California where everyone harbors dreams of making it in show biz. Susan Dey is a single parent and actress who gets her break as a stripper in a telegram service; Tom Hulce is a pizza delivery boy who writes songs in his spare time; and Michael Bowen is an Austrian bodybuilder who is determined to follow in the footsteps of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Echo Park is ably directed by Robert Dornhelm, and writer Michael Ventura does a fine job presenting the trials and tribulations of these vulnerable characters in their quest for success. The performances by the three lead characters are funny, sad, and engaging.
When Walter (Tom Hanks), an entertainment lawyer, and Anna (Shelley Long), a cellist, are evicted from the apartment they are sharing in Manhattan, the lovers purchase a spacious but dilapidated suburban mansion on Long Island. The house starts falling apart as soon as they move in: the front door collapses, the curved staircase caves in, the water faucets spew black sludge, and the electricity goes kaput. Director Richard Benjamin makes the most of the slapstick nature of the situation especially the madness which ensues when contractors arrive to put the place back together again. Anyone who has lived under the strain of house renovations will find The Money Pit funny and recognizable.