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The Great Outdoors
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Reviews & Ratings for
The Great Outdoors More at IMDbPro »

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i cant believe there are people who didnt like this one!

Author: kotkandi from united states of america
3 November 2001

i have seen this movie over and over again. i guess i never thought there would ever be anyone who didnt like it!i thought it was very funny ,and entertaining.great family comedy of course the bear part was unrealistic but that's part of the fun!relax and enjoy! we could all use a good comedy right now to forget about world problem's if only for a few hour's.

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You people make me sick!!

7/10
Author: Frankie Puke from Victoria, Canada
18 October 2001

How could anybody honestly not like this movie. It was hilarious. "The Great Outdoors" is one of John Candy's best films. When they were discussing what hot dogs are made of was one of the funniest parts. I like the "talking" raccoons. Their subtitled dialouge was hysterical.

I give this film a 7 on a 10 scale.

P.S.: I'll scream if anyone says that "Canadian Bacon" was better than this. That movie sucked.

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John Hughes' fingerprints all over it (spoilers!)

Author: marc hendriks (marc_hendriks_2000@yahoo.co.uk) from Nijmegen, The netherlands
9 April 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

In his 2-day filmmaking course, Hollywood Film Institute director Dov Simons states that everyone can come up with a starting-point, a beginning, and an ending for a movie, but that the real creativity has to be shown in the middle section of a movie.

Candy and his family travel to the wonderful vast American woods to enjoy a well-deserved summer vacation. But before Candy can cry out something like `Last one in the lake has to do the dishes' his annoying cousin Aykroyd pulls up in the driveway, bringing along his equally annoying wife Benning and their zombie-like twin daughters. Okay, that's the starting-point. In the third and final act, there will be a small disaster to overcome as a family. The film will end with the family ties firmly retied. But what will happen in the second act? And, as far as I can recall, this has always been Hughes' problem. Writers block after ten minutes of screentime. It is solved, though, in the usual Hughes-manner: filling up screentime with little sketches and obvious jokes, having little to do with the original premise.

To make things worse, the real red threat in this movie isn't the Aykroyd-Candy storyline, but a particularly annoying subplot involving a by the numbers teenage romance with its own annoying theme music. And then there's a beer with a bold head and, eventually, a bold butt. O, and something about a guy who has been struck by lightning a hundred times or so.

A little fire, although not very original either, could have been added to the mutual annoyances by gradually having Aykroyd gaining popularity with Candy's kids. But non of this happens. What does happen is Candy winning a free meal by finishing a giant steak; Candy getting hit on the head by a golf ball; Candy's car being attacked by bears; the family getting scared by a bat. Very little of the humor comes from tension between Aykroyd and candy. And the characters simply change from being ‘realistic' to cartoon characters when the scene or cheap joke asks for it. As is the case with most of Hughes' writing, in this middle sections things could be subtracted from or added to without real losses or gainings. Did I make it sound like this is a terrible picture? Well, it isn't. It's entertaining enough, but also a bit annoying as this is lazy, predictable, by-the-numbers filmmaking. Hughes and director Dietch on the automatic pilot. It's not as bad as Hughes' `Uncle Buck' (The ultimate experience in braindead comedy), though.

** out ****

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Funny, Family Film

10/10
Author: (elvisexpert@aol.com) from Nevada
16 September 2000

My Wife and I just returned from Bass Lake, California where this movie was filmed. It is easy to see why they choose this beautiful location for filming. This is the kind of feel good movie you can watch with you`re whole Family and laugh as I am sure most have somebody in their Family that they can identify with here. From the obnoxious brother in law (Aykroyd) to the mellow, simple man trying to give his Family a great time (Candy) you have all the elements of a fun film that you will want to watch again and again and thats why this is a Family favorite. If you want to sit back and laugh, pick up a copy of The Great Outdoors.

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quite entertaining!!!!!

10/10
Author: kikib37 from georgia, usa
3 July 2000

While this movie may not be profoundly deep in plot or story line, it's a good entertaining movie!!!! I'll admit I love most any movie John Candy is in...if you like the vacation movies, or other Candy fare, you'll love this one!!! I watch everytime it comes on cable....it's a great summer movie with some funny gags and all around good family fun

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Great Fun, and a classic movie

Author: nutz4n64 from Schaumburg, IL
26 November 1999

This is another of those movie that just don't get old. I saw it for the first time probably at about 7 or 8 years old, and I remember being amused by the water skiing and the raccoons. It's amazing that I've grown up with movies such as this and National Lampoon's European Vacation, and then start to actually "get" the grown up jokes. This is one of my favorite comedies.

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Wild in the woods....

7/10
Author: Mister-6 from United States
14 October 1999

It's getting so you can spot a John Hughes script from fifty miles off anymore.

"The Great Outdoors" is his, he'd have trouble disowning this one. It has his earmarks all over it:

1) Slapstick chaos ("Home Alone")

2) Teen love ("Pretty in Pink")

3) Animals with human tendencies ("101 Dalmatians")

4) Thick-headed adults (just about all his movies)

And, of course, there are laughs to be had here. Candy and Aykroyd as the feuding brothers are extremely funny and their chemistry works very well here. Faracy and Bening (!) do well as their long-suffering wives. Even Prosky serves up laughs as the campground proprietor.

But you have to feel sorry for that poor bald bear in the end (get it?).

Seven stars. Time-tested Hughes humor and a solid cast to set it off just right. Good use of raccoons, too.

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a classic

Author: Shaun Small from Mississauga, Ontario
3 June 1999

This movie may be critically bashed and ignored by the general public, but what a movie. I have seen it more than any other movie I have other seen! Why? Because the story is woven with great characters, great scenery and one hell of a great bear story that it always seems refreshing. A great cottage film. Watch it!

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Vacation from hell but what a movie

9/10
Author: Wingtip from Chicago, IL
21 May 1999

I have to say that of all the comedies released in the last fifteen years, this is one of my all-time favorites. This is most likely the case because the story revolves around something we can all relate to. Namely the summer vacation.

John Candy takes his wife and two boys up for a peaceful vacation in the north woods. However, shortly after arriving their tranquility is spoiled by Candy's loudmouth, irritating brother Roman (Dan Akroyd). Candy is too nice to tell Roman and his family to leave so they each take turns arguing and destroying everything in their path. Akroyd is terrific because his character is so over the top obnoxious that you can't help but laugh. Rounding out the cast is Annette Bening as Roman's wife and Robert Prosky as the crusty old hotel owner.

If The Great Outdoors has a weak point it would be the bear subplot and the almost apologetic way it tries to give Candy's older son a love interest. Neither plot is really needed in a movie that already has talking raccoons and a boat called Suck My Wake. See this movie. You'll never look at summer vacations or your in-laws the same way again.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Not a Classic But Entertaining

Author: Michael_Elliott from Louisville, KY
13 December 2012

The Great Outdoors (1988)

** 1/2 (out of 4)

A simple man (John Candy) takes his family to the great outdoors for some peace and quiet but that's thrown out the window when his annoying in-laws (Dan Aykroyd, Annette Bening) show up uninvited. Considering the two comic talents and the fact that this was written by John Hughes, I think you can consider THE GREAT OUTDOORS to be a disappointment. While the film remains entertaining as it is, there's still no question that with the talent involved it should have been much, much better. As it stands this is a decent film to watch if you've got some time to kill but there's no question that everyone involved had much better work in their filmmographies. I think the best thing this has going for it are the performances of Candy and Aykroyd. I thought both of them took a rather simple and weak screenplay and at least brought some energy and passion to it. I thought both of them were extremely good in their roles and their chemistry together was certainly top-notch and helped carry things. I also enjoyed Bening and Stephanie Faracy as the wives. I think the biggest problem is that the screenplay feels as if it was either rushed or a first draft is what they dusted off to try and cash in on the stars. The thing never really feels complete and many of the jokes simply aren't that funny. Still, THE GREAT OUTDOORS is mildly entertaining and fans of the stars will still want to check it out.

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