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Uncle Buck
1989 - PG - 100 Mins.
Director: John Hughes
Producer: John Hughes, Tom Jacobson
Written By: John Hughes
Starring: John Candy, Macaulay Culkin, Gaby Hoffmann, Jay Underwood, Amy Madigan, Laurie Metcalf
Review by: John Ulmer
If you have read my other reviews, you would have realized that one of my favorite directors is John Hughes. Not because of his teen movies, but because he made my favorite comedy ever: “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” with Steve Martin and John Candy. But that has little to do with Uncle Buck; if you want to read my review on “Planes…” it is on this site. Anyway…

John Hughes’ second to last film he directed was a little, low budget comedy named “Uncle Buck,” about a guy named Buck (John Candy) and his ordeals of the week.

Basically, to make a long story short, Buck’s brother and sister-in-law are called out of town because of a family emergency. But, unfortunately, they cannot leave their three children (a teenager and two smaller kids) at home, alone. After calling many neighbors to no avail, Buck’s brother realizes that the only option left is a big, large slob named Buck.

John Candy brings his warm screen presence straight outta’ downtown Chicago to watch the kids for “A week at the most.” Little does he know what will ensue. Buck has no idea whatsoever how to care for kids. One of the most endearing things about this comedy is his chemistry and connection with the smaller children.

Another funny thing is how Buck handles the teenage girl. She is used to being free, basically; but Buck, like most parents and adults, has been through things before, and knows everything going on in her life and what it will lead to. He sees right through her boyfriend “Bug” to his real intentions.

“Uncle Buck” has some very, very funny moments. Some of the gags fall short a bit, but it is still a winner. Some of the best parts are stretched-out, making it even funnier. The thing about “UB” is that unlike many comedies, there are long segments that are funny, instead of individual jokes throughout like “Airplane” and Mel Brooks films. “Uncle Buck” is NOT slapstick. It is a comedy, plain and simple.

But this does not mean it doesn’t have any good lines. There are some funny one-liners that have John Candy saying things like “Ever heard of a ritual killing,” etc… (anyone who’s seen the movie knows what I mean).

John Candy uses his natural comedic charm in this film; he is loveable and huggable.

Macaulay Culkin has his best role in this film. He was not yet an annoying brat, and could actually handle his lines, for once, without sounding like he is reading off a piece of cardboard (see “Home Alone” and/or “The Good Son”).

John Hughes directs the film in his typical fashion. I’m not sure what that fashion is, but whatever it is, it’s good.

Basically, when it all comes down to it, “Uncle Buck” delivers everything you want in a comedy. It’s great for a Friday or Saturday night. It may not be as great as “Planes…” but it sure as heck is funny.

Every time I see the freeze-frame ending it makes me want to cry (well, I feel sad, at least), because like “Planes…” the freeze-frame captures John Candy at his best, with his heart shining through. I think that is why he is one of the greatest comedians ever. It makes me sad when I think of his death.

We miss you, John.

John Candy: 1950-1994
Movie Guru Rating
An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater. An excellent film.  Among the best in its Genre.  Worth seeing in the Theater.
  4 out of 5 stars

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