Dave Barry is so silly, and that’s what’s great about him. Whether he’s writing fiction or an essay in the Miami Herald about having a colonoscopy, he takes what should be an ordinary situation and turns it on its head for laughs – exactly what a good comedian should do. I was in the mood to laugh, so I hit “Buy” on Amazon.
“Insane City” is essentially “The Hangover” (three guys get into big trouble before for one of them is supposed to walk down the aisle), but with more heart. Seth is supposed to marry Tina, a rich, beautiful, smart woman with a penchant for wanting everything to be perfect, especially her wedding. When Seth’s two best friends, Marty and Big Steve, join him for the trip to Key Biscayne for the wedding weekend, we know the story is going to hinge on whether they show up for the wedding on time and in one piece. We know this because they arrive at the Miami airport and can’t even get to Key Biscayne because their cab driver gets lost….and they end up getting drunk at a nightclub…with a snake handler and a stripper…and lose their luggage….and the expensive wedding ring for Tina.
Trying to get the ring back involves climbing into the cage of an orangutan named Trevor, as well as providing a safe haven for three Haitian refugees whose boat washes up on the beach one night, but the point is that it’s all preposterous and “Hangover”-like, but it works. It works better than the movie and its sequel, because Seth is a hero and he makes you care about what happens to him.
Sometimes people don’t give comedic writers enough credit, because their writing looks “easy,” but trust me, it’s not. Dave Barry has written a novel that’s madcap and over-the-top and he meant every word.