Checking Out

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"Nine Out of Ten Doctors Say Ray Is Perfectly Healthy. But What Do They Know?"
  • R
  • 1989
  • 1 hr 36 min
  • 4.7  (474)

Checking Out is a 1988 American comedy film revolving around the life of an adult bookstore owner named Ray Macklin, played by Jeff Daniels. Directed by David Leland and produced by Amy Robinson, the story follows Ray as he struggles with midlife crisis and contemplates suicide. The movie features an ensemble cast that includes Melanie Mayron as his wife, Michael Tucker as his business partner, and Allan Havey as his brother-in-law.

The plot of Checking Out takes place in Los Angeles, where Ray runs a successful adult bookstore. He is a middle-aged man with a wife and two grown-up children, who feel distant from him. Ray is shown to be bored with his monotony of life, bringing him to the point of existential crisis. Feeling like he has nothing to look forward to, Ray succumbs to the idea of suicide. But he doesn't want to leave loose ends behind and decides to plan for his funeral without alerting anyone. His funeral arrangements include planning obituaries, eulogies, selecting the music playlist, and much more.

However, the unusual event of somebody planning for their own funeral catches the attention of his family and friends who, upon finding out, become worried and confused about Ray's strange plans. His wife, Lonnie, is initially shocked but eventually comes around to understand his feelings of depression. His daughter, Evie, gets curious and, with the help of her brother, Marcus, finds out about her father's secret, and is most scared about the funeral music, which she hates! Ray's brother-in-law, Charley, thinks he's struck gold and sees the opportunity to make a profit by turning the funeral into a variety show. Meanwhile, his colleague, Jack, is concerned for Ray's state of mind, and tries to help him get over this tough time.

As Ray sits around in his bookstore every day, planning the funeral, his customers come in with strange requests, adding to his daily deranged routine, while secretly admiring his work for coming up with a uniquely morbid plan. Throughout this time, Ray is haunted by surreal, yet poignant visions of death and its aftermath. He imagines a production number of family and friends coming together to grieve his loss, but eventually culminates in a reawakening of the bonds that have been chafing. As the movie progresses, Ray's plans for his funeral gradually come to light, with each person involved somehow.

Checking Out is a light-hearted comedy film, showcasing Jeff Daniel's impressive talent in portraying a confused and struggling character. The film also deals with questions of grief, loss, and the value of life, in a highly engaging and entertaining way. It provides an insightful look at the issues faced by many people in advanced stages of life, and encourages them to revisit their purpose and direction in life. Through the main character, the movie also addresses the underlying themes of family, love, and relationships, highlighting that it is the support from people you care about that helps you overcome such difficult phases of life.

The cast of Checking Out is highly skilled and delivers an exceptional performance, adding to the depth and significance of the movie. It brings out several emotions and makes viewers laugh, cry, and smile throughout. The storyline of the film is unique in its approach, providing a new perspective on issues people face as they age. For all these reasons and more, Checking Out is a highly entertaining film that is sure to leave an impression on its viewers.

Checking Out
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  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 36 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    4.7  (474)