Thursday, June 26, 2014

The Great Outdoors (1988)

Funny if formulaic comedy, written (but not directed) by John Hughes, about a man who takes his family on what he hopes will be the perfect vacation, only to have it ruined by the unexpected arrival of his obnoxious in-laws.

John Candy is his usual, affable self. He had a wonderful screen presence and always rose above the material he was given. He stars opposite Dan Aykroyd here, and while the two make a good comic pair, they never quite achieve the chemistry needed to make the most of their scenes together. Hughes' script works in several of his trademark slapstick sequences that border on the painful -- highlights include Candy careening out of control on water skis, and an attack by a rampaging grizzly bear -- but also a heavy dose of sentimentality that drags the pace down at times, particularly in the obligatory "teen summer romance" subplot. Harmless, good-natured fun.

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