Review

Insane City

by Dave Barry

When Seth Weinstein agreed to his fiancé’s request to turn their nuptials into a destination event in Miami, he readily agreed. He would agree to anything Tina suggested. Was she not only the planet’s most gorgeous woman, a successful Washington, D.C. attorney, and the daughter of a billionaire? And she loved him? He was still trying to figure out what she saw in a guy like him whose job as a professional tweeter in the Social Media department of a DC marketing firm barely covered his living expenses. 

“You make me laugh,” Tina said. “And you’re kind.” That is good enough for Seth, but his kindness turns his life upside down. Before the weekend is over, his sense of humor is severely tested.

"Dave Barry lives, breathes and produces gonzo humor like no other. INSANE CITY is no doubt destined for the movie theaters, where comparisons to The Hangover are inevitable. But Miami offers pitfalls for pratfalls unparalleled by Las Vegas."

Seth’s best man and two college pals make up the Groom Posse in charge of planning the bachelor party in Miami. Seth has only one rule: “No strippers.” His best man Marty, who has a law degree but can’t pass the bar exam, is good at making things work, so he’s in charge of the pre-wedding weekend. Marty and Seth’s two slacker dorm buddies head into Miami to make their arrangements, leaving Seth at the airport to sort out a luggage problem for Tina’s sister. Something about sniffer dogs.

Dave Barry confesses that many of the ideas for the wedding arose from his own son’s marriage to a perfectly normal and lovely young woman who was transformed into a Bridezilla during the wedding planning. Tina and Seth’s wedding is an event on steroids, and Tina, a type-A lawyer, is not to be confused with Dave’s daughter-in-law. Tina is on a mission. She comes down with Bridal OCD, determined that her big day will be the most perfect, spectacular and expensive wedding Miami has ever seen. She is not worried when she spots the groom in the driveway of the Key Biscayne Ritz Carlton talking with a scantily clad blond bombshell and a scraggly man with an 11-foot Burmese python draped around his shoulders. She is only mildly concerned when she drops by his hotel suite to find him absent, but a 250-pound stripper and her gargantuan boyfriend are watching television while an illegal Haitian immigrant and her two small children are asleep in his bedroom. Seth is nowhere to be found, but Tina is certain that her dependable, stalwart boyfriend has a perfectly good explanation for everything and will turn up as instructed. All she asked was that he show up, on time, in his tuxedo, with the heirloom ring. 

So consumed is she with gown fitting, hair, makeup and nail preparation that she fails to catch breaking news on local television as her future husband is pursued by cops and her father’s bodyguards through Miami, still in the company of the scantily clad girl. They have lost the guy with the python but have picked up an orangutan who has Tina’s priceless heirloom wedding ring clutched in a death grip. Breaking News television footage of Seth and the girl and the orangutan fighting off the bodyguards, followed up by the midnight chase through Miami with the cops in hot pursuit, flash repeatedly on the TV set droning in the background, escaping her notice as others in the wedding party watch in disbelief but soldier on with the wedding preparation.

One quick note: The rehearsal dinner dessert helps to prove that airport security sniffer dogs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. 

By the time the orchestra tunes up on the beach in front of the Ritz Carlton, Tina and her entourage of bejeweled wedding guests, along with several layers of Miami society ranging from mobsters, strippers, zookeepers, cops and immigration officials, are present to meet Seth as he sails toward shore on a pirate ship with his Groom Posse.   

Dave Barry lives, breathes and produces gonzo humor like no other. INSANE CITY is no doubt destined for the movie theaters, where comparisons to The Hangover are inevitable. But Miami offers pitfalls for pratfalls unparalleled by Las Vegas.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on February 8, 2013

Insane City
by Dave Barry

  • Publication Date: September 3, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Humor, Suspense
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Trade
  • ISBN-10: 0425264726
  • ISBN-13: 9780425264720