‘Lunatics’ by Alan Zweibel and Dave Barry

January 3rd, 2012

The Boston Globe
By Dan Zevin
Jan. 3, 2012

“I never had any intention of urinating on Sarah Palin,’’ one of the two mismatched narrators informs us toward the end of “Lunatics,’’ the screwball comedy of errors co-written by Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel. It’s a significant moment, not only for its ability to project Snapple from a reader’s nostrils onto the printed page, but because it captures the novel’s lowbrow humor aimed at leaders who could stand to loosen up a little. The story recounts the madcap adventures of Philip Horkman and Jeffrey Peckerman, a straight man/funny man pair of New Jersey dads who are, through an absurd series of plot points, mistaken for terrorists. This launches the duo into a game of global hopscotch, on the run from a collection of menacing forces, including a (non-existent) black ops team. As they get into a series of fine messes, “understated wit’’ is not a phrase that springs to mind, fortunately. Comic novels often feel like humor writing begging to be taken seriously; “Lunatics’’ has no literary pretensions. It’s a rare political satire: one full of first-rate pee and poop jokes.

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