Uncle Buck (1989) Review

Director: John Hughes

Genre(s): Comedy

Runtime: 100 minutes

MPAA Rating: PG

IMDb Page

Uncle Buck was the last film directed by John Hughes to be released in the 1980s, and his second-to-last movie as a director (the final one being Curly Sue [1991]). It has a charming story, being about a slob 0f a bachelor named Buck Russell (John Candy) who’s called in by his brother, Bob (Garrett M. Brown), to babysit his three kids while he and his wife, Cindy (Elaine Bromka), are out-of-town. Will he turn out to be a good role model for the children or will things spiral out of control?

Much of Uncle Buck rides on the charisma of its sincere star, John Candy. In this regard, the picture succeeds remarkably well. While the whole cast does a fine job, this is clearly Candy’s show, and most of the more memorable moments revolve around the character Buck. Another shout-out must go to pre-Home Alone (1990) Macaulay Culkin, who plays Miles, one of the kids the titular character has to put up with.

The humor here only rarely relies on semi-surreal touches, preferring funny dialogue and even the occasional slapstick. Most audiences will find something to chuckle at, even if the comedy is fairly broad at times. Despite a PG rating from the MPAA, some of the jokes may be a little too adult for the young ones. I’d recommend watching it alone first before showing it to kids. There are a few serious moments here, but they largely don’t feel out-of-place.

Uncle Buck is a heartwarming comedy that delivers plenty of laughs, and is never dull, despite a somewhat loose and straightforward plot. It works so well partially because the central character is so compelling. He’s such an interesting dude that two – count ’em – two television series were made based around him (John Candy didn’t star in either, though). The first ran from 1990 to 1991 and the second in 2016. So, if you’re in the mood for a satisfying, inspiring, relatively wholesome flick, pop this bad boy into your home video player today.

My rating is 8 outta 10.

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