The New York Times - Janet Maslin
Although Insane City creaks occasionally, it mostly lives up to the impressive Dave Barry standard of escapist fun.
In Barry's very funny new novel, the destination wedding of a slacker protagonist and his beautiful lawyer fiancée goes haywire. Though Seth Weinstein tries to live up to Tina Clark's expectations, he's immediately thwarted. He's lost his suitcase, wedding ring, and Groom Posse before arriving, drunk, at the Miami hotel where he's to be married. His newly found companion, the fourth runnerup in the Miss Hot Amateur Bod competition, enlists her friend, who keeps a python as a pet, to help find the ring. The stripper that Seth didn't ask for greets him in his suite demanding payment. Seth goes in search of an ATM and returns, the next morning, with a nearly drowned Haitian woman and her children. The stripper's tab keeps climbing, and her pimp is unlikely to make a deal. Barry adds to the mix Tina's disapproving, social-climbing, billionaire parents and Seth's clueless mom and dad, complete with medicinal marijuana and matching tracksuits. Seth must also contend with an amorous orangutan and his soon-to-be-wife's family's bodyguards, one of whom has a grudge. None of the mayhem gets the better of Barry, whose sly observations, well-delineated characters, and intricate plotting mesh perfectly, even as the story reaches a frenetic dénouement aboard a pirate ship. Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House. (Jan.)
Barry fans will not be surprised by the plot twists in his first adult novel in over a decade. Of course, any reader who enjoys Barry’s humorous tours through southern Florida will not care one bit about the lack of surprise in this tale about a slacker groom in way over his head after he loses his custom-made wedding bands at a bachelor party gone awry. It is not exactly a spoiler alert to note that the marriage between impossibly gorgeous, successful, and spoiled Tina and Seth, whose marketing job consists of tweeting about the quality of feminine hygiene products from a variety of Twitter accounts, may not come off as planned.
Verdict Barry does here what he does bestcreates a set of memorable and outlandish characters and places them in ever-increasing chaotic and hilarious set-pieces as they move toward an inevitable conclusion. Some scenes and characters work better than others (hired muscle stuck behind a coupon clipper at CVS, the father of the bride’s desire to join an elite secret organization known as the “group of six,” a jewelry-stealing orangutan with a fondness for Cheez-its), and which will stick with readers the most depends upon their own experiences. But die-hard Barry fans will savor his usual lunacy. [See Prepub Alert, 7/30/12.]Julie Elliott, Indiana Univ. Lib., South Bend(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Hangovers, bridesmaids, Haitian refugees and rogue primates run amok in Miami. Big, goofy comedy in the vein of Carl Hiaasen and Tim Dorsey doesn't come by as often as most readers would like and neither do straight-up novels by the likes of Barry (Lunatics, 2012, etc.). So, to have two entries by the Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist in a single year is momentous. For this (nominally) adult-oriented novel, Barry returns to the broad strokes and over-the-top characters that marked early novels Big Trouble and Tricky Business. Seth Weinstein is a good-hearted, unambitious professional tweeter on the verge of marrying up to Tina Clark, a wealthy debutante whose affection for Seth is largely based on his sense of humor. Seth's "Groom Posse" has loaded up for his bachelor party with the traditional elements of booze, strippers and a complete lack of common sense, starting by stocking his baggage with sex toys. Back at the hotel, Tina and her sister Meghan work with wedding planners and try to reel in the Posse's antics while her father, a member of a secret cabal called The Group of Eleven, conspires to join the even more exclusive Group of Six. "So you're not bleeding from the head and hanging out with a Beyoncé look-alike and a Jerry Springer bouncer carrying a large snake?" Tina asks--it's one of those weekends. Despite the adult content, Barry keeps the humor good-naturedly bawdy while simultaneously throwing in everything but the kitchen sink. While the Groom Posse are standard fare from every bachelor-party film you've ever seen, the supporting cast is inspired insanity. Among the subjects of Barry's whacked-out character studies are Hot Bod competitor Cyndi, who takes a shine to Seth; wedding planner Blaze Gear, with assistants Traci and Tracee in tow; an angry, expensive stripper and her gargantuan pimp; a Haitian family on the run; and a rogue orangutan named Trevor. Yes, really. Utterly familiar but funny.
From the Publisher
Praise for Lunatics by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel
“An outrageously funny, irreverent, over-the-top comic mystery.”—Sun Sentinel
“Creative, unusual and over the top.” —The Associated Press
“A novel for those who love one-liners, outrageous characters and loopy plots.”—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Dave Barry’s I’ll Mature When I’m Dead
“[Barry] is truly the funniest man living in the three mile ‘safe’ zone off the shores of America.”—Steve Martin
“Despite years of medication, Dave Barry is still the funniest damn writer in the whole country. Let’s hope he never grows up.”—Carl Hiaasen
“Fans know what to expect from Dave Barry: joke-packed prose and one-liners… and I'll Mature When I'm Dead continues that tradition.”—The Associated Press
What People are saying about this
From the Publisher
Praise for INSANE CITY
“Picture The Hangover with a splash of Miami Vice, and you get Dave Barry's Insane City. . . This is a quick, fun (and laugh-out-loud funny) read, and the action never slows.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram
"[A] very funny new novel . . . [Barry's] sly observations, well-delineated characters, and intricate plotting mesh perfectly."—Publishers Weekly
Praise for Dave Barry
“Dave Barry remains one of the funniest writers alive.”—Carl Hiaasen
“While reading Dave Barry’s Big Trouble, I laughed so loud I fell out of a chair. Luckily, there’s a rug, so I didn’t hurt myself.” —Stephen King