David and Linda Howard are typical 1980s yuppies in Los Angeles who are fed up with their lifestyle. He works in an advertising agency and she for a department store. But after he fails to receive a promotion he was counting on and is instead asked to transfer to the firm's New York office, David angrily insults his boss and is fired. He coaxes his wife to quit her job as well and seek a new adventure.
The Howards decide to sell their house, liquidate their assets, drop out of society, "like in Easy Rider", and travel the country in a Winnebago recreational vehicle. They leave L.A. with a "nest egg" of a hundred thousand dollars but do not get very far. The plan goes awry when Linda loses all their savings playing roulette at the Desert Inn Casino in Las Vegas, where a desperate David tries in vain to persuade a casino manager to give the money back.
With nowhere to go, the couple quarrels at Hoover Dam, then ends up in Safford, Arizona. David unsuccessfully applies for a delivery job at a local pharmacy and resorts to an employment agency. After a counselor obnoxiously reminds him that he was fired from his high-paying job in advertising, David accepts the best position available — as a crossing guard, taunted by local school kids.
Linda, meanwhile, finds employment as the assistant manager at the local Der Wienerschnitzel, working under a kid half her age.
Only a few days after beginning their pursuit of the dream of dropping out of society, David and Linda are living in a trailer park, almost broke, working dead end jobs and accountable to brats. They decide that it is better to get back to their old lifestyle as soon as possible. They point the Winnebago toward New York, where David begs for his old job back.Albert Brooks as David Howard
Julie Hagerty as Linda Howard
Maggie Roswell as Patty
Michael Greene as Paul Dunn
Garry Marshall as Casino Manager
Donald Gibb as Ex-Convict
Charles Boswell as Highway Patrolman
Brooks originally did not want to direct himself and had wanted Bill Murray for the part of David Howard.
Lost In America received mostly positive reviews from critics and holds a 96% rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, based on 25 reviews. The film was a commercial success, though not a blockbuster. The film's script won the National Society of Film Critics award for Best Screenplay.
The film is number 80 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies".
It is recognized by American Film Institute on these lists:2000: AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs – #84
Warner Home Video initially released the film onto VHS and Laserdisc in 1985 and reissued it twice on video, in 1991 and 1997. The film made its DVD debut on April 3, 2001, and was made available for streaming on Netflix on July 1, 2016. Criterion is releasing this on Blu-Ray on July 25, 2017.