Uncle Buck (1989)

You don’t mess with Uncle Buck. (unless you need shelves putting up)

I watched this with my family one Christmas when I was young and thought it was hilarious. Now – many years later, while not bad in any way, it wasn’t quite as good as I remembered.

The story : After a Russell family emergency Uncle Buck is called in (he was last choice) to look after the children: Cold know-it-all teen Tia, and the mischievous Miles (Macaulay Caulkin pre-Home Alone) and Maizy (Gaby Hoffmann). Buck is an unconventional uncle, he’s unemployed, a bit of a slob, dries the children’s clothes in the oven, and often strays close to the wrong side of the law. He is also big (he’s John Candy after all) and is loud and clumsy.

These days comedies are faster with less down-time, and better acting. What this does have however, is heart, and the fact that it doesn’t feel the need to give the audience a laugh every few seconds actually works in it’s favour – since this leaves time for story and emotions to develop. Buck is well meaning, and eventually his warm intentions even defrost the heart of Tia (Jean Louisa Kelly) – the Russell’s cynical eldest daughter.

Buck despite being huge is always full of energy, ready to cause trouble or kick someone’s ass. This film is a good reminder of how great and energetic a comic actor John Candy was. Although watching it now with more realistic eyes, the truth is, he probably needed a lie down between takes.

Watch this as an Xmas or holiday film like I did and it’s good fun, any other time and it’s probably not funny or fast enough to keep your attention for long.

6/10

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