It's hard to fit the film Defending Your Life into Albert Brooks' early cannon, because it's fairly straightforward and has less of the tinge of remorse found in Modern Romance or Lost In America. Other than a few serious moments, the film is mostly a Elise-light comedy about reincarnation and judgment day. The idea, though, of the dead reviewing their lives and having to defend why they don't have to go back to Earth and try again his humorous and RyGuy takes it to the extreme in is reaction to the powerful/porky Lotus Elite.
Lotus — this is your life, and we'd like to take a little time to talk to those you've blessed — and been blessed by — over the years.
First out, we have a couple of friends who you've helped immensely over the years: Ford and GM, come on out!
Ford, how about we hear from you first. Tell us something about how your relationship with Lotus was special.
Ford: We built some really kick-ass open wheelers back in the glory days, didn't we, old pal? I remember a time when mentioning the names of Lotus and Ford together inspired fear and awe.
Thank you, Ford. GM?
GM: Well, let's be perfectly honest, we thought you were a bunch of limp-wristed plonkers for the longest time. What was an Elan next to a Camaro? But then people started caring about "handling", and we didn't really know what to do about that, so we bought you and put you to work. What an excellent decision that was. The magic you worked on the Carlton, the LT5 (who knew OHC multivalves worked so well?), the Ecotec, the VX220... what a ride!
Thank you, GM. And now, some of the lesser-known friends of Lotus: Isuzu and Toyota, come on out! Isuzu?
Isuzu: Well, Lotus, we had a line of decent small cars that needed something to distinguish them from the masses of other decent small cars coming from Asia. You graced a few of our models with your gifts, and though they are no longer produced, they are (in the right circles) legendary. Thank you!
What a great story, Isuzu. Toyota?
Toyota: As many of my compatriots have stated, our mutual friend Lotus was known the world over for taking ordinary cars and making them a magical driving experience. My engineers were excellent at designing a quality product that would last, and our friends at Yamaha had always done wonderfully at injecting some excitement into our droll-but-reliable engines, but when it came to our flagship sports car, the Supra, we made the smart choice and asked you for help in making it dance. And you did. Did you ever! We are honored that you continue to choose our engines for your wonderful vehicles, and hope to continue this relationship into the foreseeable future.
And now... Lotus, are you ready for him? You know we had to bring him in, though it required a team of necromancers to do so. Lotus, ladies and gentleman, please welcome —
Chapman storms out of the wings, crosses the stage and bitch-slaps Lotus, screaming with rage.
Chapman: What in the blue f*ck is this Elite nonsense? It's a full two tons with a tank of petrol and two of your fat arses on board! Power folding hardtop? Is that a joke? A two-for-one? A car has a top or it doesn't, period! If you insist on having a roadster and being out of the rain, stretch a bit of canvas over your head and be done, don't waste engineering resources and add needless weight (high on the chassis, too) with a folding hardtop! And you know the damn thing will break, too!
And what is this I hear about a *hybrid* system? I don't car if it gives you 50 extra horsepowers for a few seconds — it adds weight... oh, gods, WEIGHT — and something else to break. If you need the power, roll in some lumpier cams and open up the breathing a bit. To hell with flexability! Are you now Toyota?
Oh, yes... Toyota — yeah, great job buying engines from them. Hmm, let's think of the most dull manufacturer on the planet and stuff their motor into our machine. Who gives a wet browner about reliability? A Lotus needs an engine that can really sing, not just mumble the words!
Chapman stumbles back a few steps, gripping his forehead. The studio is dead silent. After a few moments, Chapman seems to recover slightly.
Chapman: You are DEAD TO ME, do you HEAR? I don't KNOW you anymore! DEAD!
I'd netflix that movie.