Critic Reviews



Based on 20 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Though The burbs is hardly an actor's film, Hanks continues to demonstrate the ease and maturity that has been his since Big, while Dern, Ducommun and Feldman lend broad but effective support.
One of Tom Hanks' overlooked performances because this bizarre thriller-comedy ends so strangely but there's much to like here.
Skillfully mixing elements of horror while never alienating its core PG demographic, The 'Burbs also benefits from a wonderfully playful score by the late great Jerry Goldsmith. While the film bottles it slightly at the end with the obvious, neatly-tied-together resolution which would have benefited from maintaining an ambiguity, the enormous sense of fun established by Dante and his cast in the run-up more than makes up for any shortcomings.
The 'Burbs offers a delightfully complicated portrait of suburban voyeurism, a portrait taken to its absurd extreme by Dante's introduction of foreign elements among his xenophobic characters, in a devastating satire of suburban values.
Director Joe Dante funnels his decidedly cracked view of suburban life through dark humour in The ‘Burbs. Hanks does a fine impersonation of a regular guy on the verge of a nervous breakdown, while Dern adds another memorable psychotic to his resume.
Time Out London
It's very silly, of course, but Hanks' fine timing is matched by a strong supporting cast, and thanks to Dante's wicked, comic-strip view of the world, the movie achieves an admirably wacky consistency as it debunks American mores and movie clichés, from Hitchcock and Leone to Michael Winner and Tobe Hooper.
This isn't a major Dante effort, but his ability to make a good-natured satire that allows an audience to read it several ways at once is as strong as ever, and many of the sidelong genre notations are especially funny.
The 'Burbs tries to position itself somewhere between Beetlejuice and The Twilight Zone, but it lacks the dementia of the first and the wicked intelligence of the second and turns instead into a long shaggy dog story.
So little goes on that it might be argued that The Burbs means to be a comment on the vacuity of popular entertainment in the television age, though it's much more an example of it. The film does nothing for the reputation of anyone connected with it, including Mr. Hanks, who deserves the Oscar nomination he has just received for his work in Big. This time he's attempting to act a role in a screenplay whose pages are blank.
The folks who made The 'burbs appear to be card-carrying members of the School of Non-Urban Humor. Basic to the philosophy of this school is the misapprehension that anything occurring outside city limits is intrinsically amusing.

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