The Couch Trip

The Couch Trip

Theatrical release poster
Directed by Michael Ritchie
Produced by Lawrence Gordon
Written by Screenplay:
Steven Kampmann
William Porter
Sean Stein
Walter Bernstein
Ken Kolb
Music by Michel Colombier
Cinematography Donald E. Thorin
Edited by Richard A. Harris
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release dates
  • January 15, 1988 (1988-01-15)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $19 million
Box office $11,005,304

The Couch Trip is a 1988 American comedy film directed by Michael Ritchie. It stars Dan Aykroyd, Walter Matthau, Charles Grodin and Donna Dixon.


Alleged mental patient John Burns (Dan Aykroyd), a former computer hacker,[1] is sent to Dr Lawrence Bairds' office (David Clennon) after causing a riot in the hospital cafeteria. Dr Baird receives a message from his secretary that a call was waiting for him. As Dr Baird leaves his office, coincidentally Burns intercepts a telephone call from Dr Maitlins' Lawyer (Richard Romanus), requesting if Dr Baird could fill in for Dr. George Maitlin (Charles Grodin) on his popular radio talk show. Burns assumes Dr. Baird's identity and jumps at the chance to escape the hospital. With the help of Dr. Baird's secretary, he breaks out and picks up a waiting ticket at the Chicago airport.

Burns arrives in Los Angeles, where he is met by Dr. Maitlin's radio show assistant Laura Rollins (Donna Dixon) and escorted to the waiting limousine. He crosses paths with Donald Becker (Walter Matthau), a crazy priest who is collecting money to save plants. Becker recognizes the trousers Burns is wearing to be asylum issue.

When the time comes to do the radio talk show, Burns is a huge hit, offering people free consultations and using profanity on the air. He even arranges for listeners to go to a baseball game at Dodger Stadium for free (where he also leads the singing of the national anthem).

All goes well until Dr. Maitlin meets the real Dr. Baird in London, when they both attend the same seminar. They fly back to L.A. to try to find what is going on behind their backs.

Burns has been paid for the show (in cash) and is ready to leave town when he sees on the in-flight TV that Becker is on top of the Hollywood sign shouting Baird's name. Burns decides to go back and help to resolve the situation, where he is arrested only to be rescued on the way to the penitentiary by Becker and Maitlin's assistant Rollins.

In the last few scenes of the movie, Burns gives his inmate number "7474505B" which is the same number that Jake Blues had in The Blues Brothers and Louis Winthorpe III in Trading Places.



The movie received mixed reviews.[2][3][4]

Home media

Although the film was a flop at the box office, it did well on home video.[5]


  1. "The Couch Trip". The Tomatometer. Retrieved 2016-04-19.
  2. Canby, Vincent (1988-01-15). "Movie Review - The Couch Trip - Film: 'Couch Trip,' With Aykroyd and Matthau -". Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  3. "The Couch Trip Reviews". 1988-01-15. Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  4. Wilmington, Michael (1988-01-15). "MOVIE REVIEW : Dan Aykroyd in a Depressed 'Couch Trip' - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-08-04.
  5. Hunt, Dennis (1988-07-14). "VIDEO CHARTS : Streisand Soars Over Dunaway, Streep - Los Angeles Times". Retrieved 2012-08-04.
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