Nothing But Trouble

The most difficult thing for an artist is to express what America is really like in this latter day. Aykroyd has succeeded where not a few (and of the best) have come short.

Ray Charles sings “The Good Life” over night helicopter shots of Manhattan. Two couples drive out to the country, past outtakes from Deliverance, and into the grotesque and fetid inferno of Valkenvania. It’s exactly a portrait to the life of the land and its people.

This required of Aykroyd an extraordinary artificial construction on the set, so as to counteract the camera’s blandishments. The expense of it, and the relative public disregard (critics all but spat HIX NIX STIX PIX), seem to have placed Nothing But Trouble in the class of One-Eyed Jacks.

Difficult to express, and difficult to face. That’s what makes the mirror held up to nature a two-edged sword.

A flavor of Wellesiana is in the treatment. Nuances and evocations of Citizen Kane, The Lady from Shanghai, Touch of Evil, and perhaps Mr. Arkadin, are applied as a means of approach.

The truly great comedians who perform this are led by a very masterful Chevy Chase, and Demi Moore in some pratfalls worthy of Oliver Hardy. Presiding like Welles in makeup that tells the tale is Aykroyd himself as the very Wizard of Ozymandias.