Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Great Outdoors

The Great Outdoors; comedy, USA, 1988; D: Howard Deutch, S: John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Stephanie Faracy, Annette Bening, Robert Prosky

Chester and his wife Connie take their two kids, Buck and Ben, for a vacation in the forests and a lake in Wisconsin. However, they are annoyed when Chester's brother-in-law Roman, and his family - Kate, Mara and Cara - also show up at their hut without any announcement. Forced to share their vacation with them, Chester encounters numerous misadventures, while Buck falls in love with a local teenage girl, Cammy. Finally, Roman admits that he is broke and only showed up to try to pull Chester into an investment of his. When a storm breaks out, a scary, bald bear enters their hut, but Chester manages to banish him by shooting in his butt.

One of John Hughes' lesser screenplays ended up accordingly into a thin, weak 'summer-vacation-comedy' flick "The Great Outdoors", where neither director Howard Deutch nor its two main stars, John Candy and Dan Aykroyd, managed to make something more out of it, thus inevitably resulting in a meagre, sometimes insufficient achievement. Hughes, it seems, did not put that much effort into the storyline, which unravels almost accidental, as if anything that the author comes up with ends ultimately in the film, without much inspiration or further thought. Several sequences also seem "off", epitomized in the finale where a bald (!) bear storms the hut and attacks the protagonists: it was a way too dangerous, risky sequence with high stakes for such a thin, light chuckle without much payoff in the end. Too many "useless jokes", too little highlights. The main delight are the locations, since the lake and the nature are often the only marvel to look at.


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