|UNCLE BUCK (director/writer: John Hughes; cinematographer: Ralf Bode; editors: Tony Lombardo/Lou Lombardo/Peck Prior; music: Ira Newborn; cast: John Candy (Uncle Buck Russell), Jean Kelly (Tia), Gaby Hoffman (Maizy), Macaulay Culkin (Miles), Amy Madigan (Chanice), Garrett M. Brown (Bob Russell), Brian Tarantina (E. Roger Coswell), Suzanne Shepherd (Mrs. Hogarth), Laurie Metcalf (Marcie Dahlgren-Frost), Jay Underwood (Bug), Elaine Bromka (Cindy Russell), Mike Starr (Pooter-the-Clown); Runtime: 100; MPAA Rating: PG; producer:Tom Jacobson/John Hughes; MCA Universal Home Video; 1989)|
|"The supposedly sweet domestic comedy
hits too many sour notes to remain in tune, even if always competent."
by Dennis Schwartz
supposedly sweet domestic comedy hits too many sour
notes to remain in tune, even if always competent.
It's written and directed by John Hughes ("Weird
Trains and Automobiles"), who makes it
sometimes uncomfortable to watch by being so awkward
while still giving it no edge. It plays out as a John
Candy star vehicle, who is the lovable good-natured
slob bachelor. If there wasn't such a need for
sentimental moralizing, the film maybe would have
worked better and been more sympathetically received.
Of note, this is the film that launched the acting
career of Macaulay Culkin.
Buck (John Candy) is the kooky idler living in
downtown Chicago, who is called by his brother Bob (Garrett
M. Brown) in an emergency
to house-sit for his two nieces and a nephew
because his wife Cindy's (Elaine Bromka)
father had a heart attack and they must stay with him
in Indianapolis. That night Buck goes in his noisy
clunker car to Bob's wealthy
suburban Chicago home. There he must learn to handle
the high-tech gadgets in the kitchen and laundry room.
He must also deal with the angry and confused
15-year-old Tia (Jean Kelly) and her relationship with
her untrustworthy steady boyfriend Bug (Jay
Underwood). The cuties are the 8-year-old
Miles (Macaulay Culkin) and the 6-year-old Maizy (Gaby
Hoffman), who ally with Buck in their need for
parenting, warmth and attention.
also must deal with his tire shop owner girlfriend
Chanice (Amy Madigan), who wants Buck to get his act
together or she'll dump him. He must also curtail the
advances of Bob's divorcee neighbor (Laurie
Metcalf), rudely tell a hostile
assistant principal (Suzanne
Shepherd) to go downtown and have a rat gnaw
off the mole on her chin, and
take care of a clown (Mike Starr) who
shows up drunk to perform at home for the youngster's
The comedy antics are only mildly amusing. It's an innocuous film more suited for television sit-com than a feature film.
REVIEWED ON 4/22/2017 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
© ALL RIGHTS RESERVED DENNIS SCHWARTZ