Starring: John Candy, Jean Louisa Kelly, Macaulay Culkin
Director: John Hughes
Running Time: 99 mins
Uncle Buck is an American film about a man who moves in to babysit for his nieces and nephews while their parents are away, but his slobbish style soon causes friction within the house.
A thoroughly enjoyable comedy that combines good humour, charming performances and a fun-loving story throughout, there’s little reason not to like Uncle Buck.
At the centre of it all is John Candy, in what has to be one of his most likable roles of all (and that’s saying something). What really works about Candy’s performance here is that he’s not a purely chirpy, almost unbelievably likable persona like he is Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but rather a flawed yet genuine guy.
Though slobbish and seemingly incompetent in getting his life together, Candy has a Homer Simpson-esque likability about him in this film, with a blend of buffoonish tomfoolery and a genuine desire to always do the right thing, even if he does so in a rather unorthodox way.
Not only is Candy great here, but his young co-stars Jean Louisa Kelly and especially Macaulay Culkin really add to the fun here. More often than not, young actors being put at odds with established co-stars can prove grating, but both are just as fun and genuine as John Candy is, with Macaulay Culkin full of the energy that he went on to deliver so memorably in Home Alone.
The cast makes Uncle Buck a hugely fun watch, but praise also has to go to the film’s direction and screenplay, brilliantly crafted by legendary comedy filmmaker John Hughes.
While Hughes had for years before taken on enjoyable but emotionally challenging coming-of-age stories like The Breakfast Club, Uncle Buck is a thoroughly entertaining blend of sillier comedy and still genuine, character-driven storytelling.
As I mentioned, Uncle Buck himself isn’t written to be just purely nice, or just an idiot. Instead, he’s a believable and down-to-earth blend of both personas, which, in tandem with John Candy’s excellent performance, makes him irresistibly lovable, even if he is a little rough around the edges at times.
What’s more is that Hughes brings a little of his coming-of-age expertise into the mix here, telling a story about a slobbish man who grows and matures while helping his teenage niece to grow up herself. It’s a subtle story that doesn’t take away from the film’s likably comedic nature, but it adds so much to its depth and enjoyability.
Overall, I really enjoyed Uncle Buck. A fun comedy it certainly is, but thanks to great acting across the board as well as an excellent character-driven screenplay, it proves a thoroughly genuine and charming watch from start to finish. So, that’s why I’m giving it a 7.6.