Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Uncle Buck; comedy, USA, 1989; D: John Hughes, S: John Candy, Jean Kelly, Amy Madigan, Macaulay Caulkin, Gaby Hoffman
Bob has to take a trip with his wife Cindy, whose father is very sick. They have three kids and want to find a nanny to take care of them while they're away, but none of their friends is temporarily available so they are forced to call uncle Buck: unemployed, drunk black sheep of the family that earns money on horse races. Uncle Buck arrives and stays alone with the kids: Miles, Maizy and the teenage Tia. He gets the sympathy of all the kids except the rebellious Tia who wants to flirt with boys without any oppression. When her boyfriend dumps her, Buck helps her take revenge on him. When mom and dad return back home, Buck says goodbye to the kids and leaves together with his friend whom he made up with.
Amusing and simple family comedy "Uncle Buck" gains 90 % of its charm by picking the sympathetic and underrated John Candy for the role of the title hero: uncle Buck tries unusually, but unpretentiously to babysit his brother's kids alone, which leads to crazy situations, but some of them, as exaggerated as they seem, captured a few truths about life. As with most films by John Hughes, the characters are once again one dimensional, and the burden is enlarged by inappropriate morally-pathetic scenes that the viewer mostly ignores because they seem too preachy and shallow. Another minus is Buck's aggressive behavior towards Tia's (ex) boyfriend - he actually tries to scare him off by presenting him his axe, and he even helps Tia take revenge on him. Still, despite everything, Huges has a moral core and cares for his protagonists, and a lot of unnecessary criticism was aimed at his sentimentalism, as if emotions were something bad. In one scene uncle Buck planned to go to bet on a race, and decided to conveniently take the kids with him - but just as they were in the car, he realized bets and races are not suitable for little kids, and figured how egoistic he almost became. It was a brave choice for Hughes to put this scene in, because many viewers didn't even consider that to be a bad thing, but he simply made a nice comment how people sometimes ignore and twist everything when pursuing their goals. Even putting that aside, the film has enough solid humor and gains strength in sharp dialogues, like when Buck is making 3-foot wide pancakes for kids or when he is totally uninterested in principal's snobby opinion, whom he ironically gives 25 cents to remove her mole.