The Great Outdoors (1988) Poster

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Remember these classics!!
Robert_duder12 September 2004
The eighties was a decade of film brilliance. Not Academy Awards maybe, or deeply intriguing movies but instead R-Rated, ridiculous, fun, pompous, films that were just not thought provoking but instead FUN!! What was R-Rated back then would be barely a PG today which also reflects the kind of society we have turned into. Enter "The Great OutDoors" with fellow Canadian comedians who knew comedy unlike no one has since.

Dan Akroyd and John Candy are just great. They aren't brilliant actors (although Dan has shown some promise in great movies such as The Arrow and My Girl) but instead they can get together to deliver laughs and they do. The Great Outdoors is the quintessential eighties film about a family on vacation. It's about the desire to succeed and BUY STUFF (an eighties must.) It's about who is the better man, and man vs nature and all that kind of stuff. More importantly it delivers the perfect blend of physical comedy AND one liners that actually made me laugh out loud. Akroyd and Candy play like a stand up comedy act and it works so well that you forget everyone else. They really don't add or take away from the story, you just forget anyone else is doesn't really matter much. You're in this to see Chet and Roman battle it out mostly behind each other's backs. The cinematography is great in this movie as well. They used an actual lake although it was in California, not Wisconsin and it really helps the setting. You feel as though you're roughing it out right beside them. The best part is the climax with the bear, what a great scene. As predictable as you might think it's just awesome. Candy is hilarious and sadly missed in future endeavours. Akroyd pulls off the pompous, greedy and loud mouthed lawyer type to a T and manages to not take himself too seriously. As with all eighties films they manage to toss in the someone is in trouble, everyone has to pull together and save them story ending but it works and this movie is without a doubt a classic, whether comedy or just film in general, it will always be remembered fondly. 8/10
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As long as Dan and John make me laugh, I love this movie
Smells_Like_Cheese17 November 2003
The Great Outdoors is one of the most under rated comedies that I have ever seen! It's actually one of my hidden favorites, because this is the type of comedy that I love, slap stick. Dan and John make such a great comedic duo in The Great Outdoors, you can't help but laugh hysterically at every scene or be touched by a sentimental moment. I miss stories like this, that are not only heart warming but have a great mix of comedy as well.

Chet is a family man who wants to bond with his songs on a camping trip, so he, his wife, and their boys go out to the great outdoors. But an uninvited guest tags along, their rich and snobby cousins Roman and Kate and their two Shinning creepy twin girls. Since Roman likes to live it up, he practically jumps all over Chet's plans and just takes over the vacation!

There are some great scenes like a bat gets loose in the cabin and Chet and Roman decide to take it on themselves. The bat gets onto Chet's face and Roman hits the bat and Chet's face with a tennis racket! Chet's reaction is just priceless! And they go to a restaurant where Chet has the opportunity to eat a 16 ounce steak and if he eats the whole thing, the family eats for free, and they do it like as if he was Rocky in his first major boxing match, it was just great to watch. The Great outdoors is one of those great under rated comedies that I'm sure you'll fall in love with.

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What are hot dogs made out of?
Pookyiscute11 February 2004
A great comedy to settle down with after a long day. Aykroyd and Candy make a great pair in this off-beat comedy about life in the woods, and how one simple vacation turns into a dreaded day-to-day horror.

Basic Plot: John Candy and his family go up to Canada for a family vacation away from the city for several days. Seemingly fine, until they get to their cabin, the whole vacation starts to fall apart from the moment they arrive. Not only is there fish everywhere in their vacation home, but just when mom and dad think they're alone, their brother and sister in-law walk in on them, with their two daughters. From a water-skiing adventure gone wrong- to eating a whole family's worth of food (pun definitely intended.), the movie seems to continually take a turn for the worst. The subplot is Candy's oldest son, who starts to fall in love with a local, to give it that romance along with all the humor that's going on between the adults.

A fun movie to watch from 10- whenever.

I give it a 7.5 out of 10 (10 being the highest). Not one of the best movies ever but certainly funny and it has some great writing too.

A little piece of trivia:

At the end of "She's Having a Baby" right before the credits, you see the wife asking Kevin Bacon what they should name the baby... People from all sorts of films and T.V. shows voice their opinions, including some of the cast members from 'The Great Outdoors'.

And that's the end of this review.
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Great fun and entertainment for the entire family...
paul_haakonsen3 August 2012
I remember seeing this movie back in the late 80's, when I was young, and I have fond memories of it being a great and fun movie. And sure enough, having sat down again here in 2012 and watch it again, the movie was every bit as funny and entertaining and I remembered it to be.

But of course, why wouldn't it? You have two of the greatest comedians in American cinema in it; Dan Aykroyd (playing Roman) and John Candy (playing Chet), and they were really a great comedian couple, complementing each other well and having great on-screen chemistry.

The story in "The Great Outdoors" is about the Ripley family coming to a very idyllic and beautiful cabin site, where Chet's father used to take Chet when he was a child, and now Chet want his children to have their own memories of this paradise. But within only moments of getting there, Chet's brother Roman and his family show up unannounced to surprise the Ripley's and spend a week of vacation together.

The movie is filled with great and memorable moments that will have you laughing hard, because Aykroyd and Candy really do some great comedy in this movie and put on great performances. Sure it is very 1980's in spirit, but still today the movie is fun and entertaining to watch. And I personally never will tire of John Candy and his greatly missed comedy act, he was truly one of a kind.

If you enjoy 80's comedies and the movies of Dan Aykroyd and/or John Candy, then I am sure you are already well familiar with "The Great Outdoors", but if you aren't, then get your hands on this movie, because it is well worth a watch.
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one of John Candy's best
rabid_halfling7 April 2004
I watch this movie, and then i feel terrible that a great comedian is gone.. You can have your kinnison, farley, etc. But Candy, is probaly one of the over looked, and slumped into thecheap renters.. but you know why they used him as the lead in so many.. Because he is/was a kindly looking man, and was from what i have read of him.. And this is probaly the pinnacle of the greatness of Candy. And the whole bear scene steals the whole show. I just wish all the canadian actors/comedians didn't have to go south.. come on Canadian cinema drop the docu-drama and work with our funny bones.. We are wasting our real natural resource here.. Again best Candy flick of all, IMHO.
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One of my 80's favorites
ivko10 July 2008
As a child of the eighties, its hard not to view this film thru the lens of nostalgia. John Candy is hilarious as the simple but decent family guy who wishes to take his family on a vacation to the great outdoors. His plans are rudely disrupted by his boorish brother in law, who crashes the family event and manages to disrupt all of Candy's plans. While there's nothing particularly stunning or insightful here, its fun and reminds me of days gone by. Although seen thru the eye of comedians, many of us can remember "disastrous" family vacations like this, with relatives that we sometimes couldn't stand and plans gone awry, but still forming some of our most fond memories. It is also somewhat bittersweet for me, as most of the beautiful and rustic locales in the film have disappeared during the intervening years, a loss I hadn't even noticed or thought about until I watched the film again. The film is very family friendly and, if you haven't seen it, definitely worth a viewing.
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jimzastud15 January 2004
This is one of the best commedies ever made. I love the humor, comraderie, hatred, envy. everything. This is one movie that you could watch a thousand time and never get sick of it. John Candy is a true genius and I wish he were still around to make us all laugh. Great movie and if you have a problem with that dont' sing it bring it!
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This movie is never a 5.9 thats insulting
goodkat216 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
I was just looking up movies here on IMDb when I noticed that The Great Outdoors had received only a 5.9 mark I find this incredible as I thought that this movie was and is a cult comedy classic. With Dan Akroyd and the late great John Candy on top form .The comedy in this movie is fantastic the scene with the old dead guy in it is one of the funniest scenes I have ever seen in a movie and the gags come thick and fast it is never only a 5.9 more like a 7.0 in my opinion. It takes a lot to make me laugh when I go to the movies but this comedy hits the spot so don't let the low mark put you off checking out this movie as it is far better than its 5.9 suggests and you wont be disappointed .Well thats me finished i just had to write this as I was shocked at the low mark this great movie received.
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Aykroyd and Candy: a great combo
lee_eisenberg13 August 2005
"The Great Outdoors" is what anyone would expect of a John Candy movie: completely goofy, but funny nonetheless. He plays Chet Ripley, taking his family on vacation in the wilderness. Unfortunately, Chet's unpleasant brother-in-law Roman Craig (Dan Aykroyd) is also there, and he just has to make everything miserable for Chet. In some ways, this movie seems to be rehashing "Summer Rental", but with a different tone. My favorite parts were the raccoons, the bear, and The Old '96er (I don't recommend that scene for squeamish people). All in all, it just goes to show what the world lost when John Candy died. He was really great.

P.S.: Annette Bening, in her debut, plays Roman's wife Kate.
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Dad, isn't it illegal to drive with a bear on the hood of your car?
brightlilchica3 May 2003
I don't understand why people don't understand this movie. John Candy's a laid-back middle-classer. Dan Akyroyd's a suave, rich debonar. Somehow these two manage to click together fine. They should have done more movies together, not to mention this tale has cool catch phrases: "Dad, isn't it illegal to drive with a bear on the hood of your car?"
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Fun movie about the adventures of camping.
LebowskiT100031 January 2003
This is a great film to just kick-back and watch on a rainy day. It has a some good laughs and an interesting story. There are a number of things that I didn't like about the film, and things that I wouldn't have done, but overall, it's a good film and I enjoyed it.

John Candy and Dan Aykroyd are a fabulous team. John Candy plays the character you'd expect him to play, given his other credits, the good-natured nice guy. Dan Aykroyd plays an interesting character, because all in all, he's a good guy, but he's got his problems (which will come out in the end of the film). I thought it was a bit strange to Annette Bening in this kind of comedic role, due to having seen her in various roles since, most of which not being comedic. But nonetheless, she did a very nice job with her role, and in fact this film was her theatrical debut. Robert Prosky plays a somewhat minor role, but does a fine job with it. Lucy Deakins (Cammie) really caught my eye in this film, she is quite a good looking woman and needs to be in more films.

I wouldn't say this film is for everyone, and I could see why some people wouldn't love it. It's not a laugh-a-minute kind of movie, but it's got some good stuff. If you are a fan of either John Candy or Dan Aykroyd, then you ought to see this film. I hope you enjoy the film, thanks for reading,

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The Great Outdoors!
Movie Nuttball14 January 2005
The Great Outdoors is excellent comedy with a great cast which includes Dan Aykroyd, John Candy, Stephanie Faracy, Annette Bening, Robert Prosky, and John Bloom! The acting by all of these actors is very good. Aykroyd has a great performance and Candy is really wonderful in the movie. Faracy and Bening are also very good. I think that Candy and Faracy were excellent together as a couple. The music by Thomas Newman is good. The film is very exciting and its just so hilarious the entire time. This really is great comedy and in My opinion its a classic! If you love John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, and the rest of the cast mentioned and great comedies then I Strongly recommend this film! Movie

Nuttball's NOTE:

If you love John Candy then I recommend that you see the following films: Summer Rental, Armed and Dangerous, Spaceballs, Who's Harry Crumb?, and Uncle Buck!
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Better than average
mm-396 August 2002
Dan does a good role, and John has a script. This film is great. A little sappy the love story, but the water ski scene makes up for it. I like this film, its worth the rental price. It was a great drive in movie when I went out with my parents. 7/10
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Not so great
Having not seen this movie since I was about 8 I looked forward to a forgotten Candy/Aykroyd classic and a sharp script by John Hughes. As an adult though I was bitterly disappointed at how feeble and unimaginative this lame comedy is. It barely just manages to be a complete film and comes across as a haphazard collection of possible scenes from an abandoned Griswald Vacaction movie squished together in no real order.

John Candy is an earnest, bigger than life dad who takes his wife and two sons into the wilderness for a fun time in a log cabin. When they get there they are promptly interrupted by pompous brother-in-law Dan Aykroyd (in a reverse Cousin Eddie role) who imposes himself into every situation with his arrogant demeanor. There's no conflict. It's a set-up that barely develops and barely resolves.

Meanwhile a bunch of side gags occur and some extremely poor slapstick scenes make up the majority of the running time. A teen romance plot is shoehorned in there but has no real effect on anything (but I don't mind as it features jail-bait Lucy Deakins who is super cute). Absolutely none of this appears to be in any pre-planned order. Characters warp across the place, switch outfits, warp back, and switch to previous outfits. No scene relates to another and nothing properly interconnects.

Some shots appear to be sped up and a couple of smaller scenes are obviously shot in a soundstage (complete with interior echo and noticeable folds in the painted backdrop) instead of actually on location. It makes me think that they realized the movie was under- running when thrown together and re-shot some extra crap to make it longer. An eyeball-rolling "karaoke credits" (were these EVER popular with audiences?) fattens the length to an acceptable 85 minutes before the credits run over black.

Forget about this one. It's a misfire from all the talent involved. Your nostalgia for this flick will not hold up.
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The Great Outdoors ; Some Movies Just Don't Age Well
happipuppi134 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I recently bought myself a fairly inexpensive copy of this movie and did so because I hadn't seen it in a very long time.

In watching it last night finally,I incredibly,found my self laughing at very little. The Raccoons - Still funny. Near beginning of film,getting caught on video camera while making out - also still funny. Trying to catch the bat - yep,still funny. The killer bear story -Funny.

Sad to say,not much else is. Don;t get me wrong,I loved this film back then and many years after but now,it just seems dated and even worse,a very uneven balance of comedy & semi-serious sub-plots.

Teen-age son likes local girl but local girl isn't that crazy about him...until a few scenes later. Really,who cares? It adds nothing to the story or the film overall. It's like it was just thrown in to make it 90 minutes.

Roman's revelation that his family is broke and his story about an investment to candy was a con-job. Why take a character who could be so hilarious and two-faced and "humanize" him?

The other big problems. The twin girls. The Boys see them arrive and we hear the Twlight Zone theme. Which should be a set up,I would think,for the boys vs. the girls in pulling pranks on each other or something.

Roman & his wife,should have been unrelenting,unapologetic,obnoxious,money grubbing,self-loving in laws from ****. I'm sorry but once they apologize and make up with the family,there's no more comedy here.

Candy being chased by the bear,is only mildly funny but does get saved somewhat for it's backside hair getting blown off with the gun. Lastly,in the closing credits where they dance to Wilson Pickett's "Land Of 1000 Dances"? That should have been right in the middle of the film. Certainly would have energized it some.

If you still love this movie,that's great. For me,like a lot of unfortunate 80s comedies,this one's just to dated (and a bit dull) to still be as funny as it was.

3 out of 10. With all due respect to the late John candy.
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My favorite John Candy movie
kimbpaul21 April 2019
I watch this every time it pops up on a channel, purely for Mr. Candy. No matter how trivial any movie might be, his characters always make me happy. Such a loss, I feel I would've liked meeting him in person. Not an Ackroyd fan, but Annette Bening was hilarious. Watching the bear story-telling right now...classic Candy!
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Great indeed!
pbastian13 March 2019
Being from Wisconsin this movie totally nails the Northwoods and how summers are there. A lot of people outside of this part of the country don't get that so the film may not be for them. Endlessly rewatchable and quotable this movie is just plain funny.
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John and Dan, what a pair
williamsonandcompany6 November 2018
This is a classic, anyone who seriously scores this low doesn't get 80's films
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The O.K. Outdoors
tuckerconstable-070551 September 2017
Warning: Spoilers
The Great Outdoors, written by John Hughes and starring Dan Aykroyd and John Candy as two dueling step brothers, is a film that-while fun in places-fails to leave as much of an impression as you'd hope. The plot focuses on Candy's character and his family who are simply looking for a fun, all American get away. However, Candy's step brother (Aykroyd) shows up unannounced with his family-causing high jink after high jink.

The premise of Aykroyd and Candy playing arch enemies is perfect on paper, but the film plays Aykroyd's character a too unlike able for the audience to be invested in or to care for. There's a scene where Aykroyd walks in on Candy and his wife while they're making love. During all this Aykroyd is laughing annoyingly and filming the event. It's played up as a joke, but it's makes Aykroyd's character look mildly disturbed rather than a dopey, yet lovable step brother.

Another thing that irked me is the shoe horned in romance between Candy's son and a mysterious girl he meets. In just four minutes they've argued, apologized, gone on a date, had another argument and gotten back together. It's extremely under cooked to say the least. That's pretty much the whole film, it moves from sketch after sketch without much plot in between. We get a few humorous scenes involving John Candy, a bear and the water skiing bit was nice, but without anything to pad those out, the film tends to lose the interest from this viewer.
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Perfect No-Brainer
KiteVega13 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
And I mean no-brainer in the best possible sense! It seems whenever I'm down, Dad shoots out to HMV and picks me up a nice, cheesy 80s movie out of the £5 section - this time it was The Great Outdoors and boy, did it cheer me up! A major reason to love this movie is, of course, dearly departed John Candy who is impossible to dislike. In this film he plays Chet Ripley, a wholesome family man who has his vacation ruined by the in-laws crashing in uninvited. It is not just Candy who puts in a fine performance. Dan Ackroyd is great as sleazy, posing, Roman Craig - a semi yuppy with a penchant for barbecued lobster tails and trimming his nostrils! Annette Bening is also convincing as Kate Craig, Roman's spoiled but lonely wife. Yes, she is also the mum from American Beauty - I squawked this rather loudly while watching. Her role here is far simpler, but she is still on top form with some hilarious lines - spin cycle, anyone?! Stephanie Faracy comes across as pleasant and extremely likable in the role of Connie Ripley, and the kids in the movie are great - I thought the youngest boy Benny was especially funny, especially in the 'bear dump' scene. The film starts and continues brilliantly - not having a plot as such - but this is actually a good thing. Rather than bogging us down in a story we're rather presented with a series of highly amusing set - pieces: the hysterical water ski scene. The bear dump. The old man's birthday. Chet's 'Bear Story'. The bat swatting. The leech scene. I could go on but I simply wouldn't have time. This film works fabulously as this series of 'short stories' - it's almost like a character study, and the effect is great, so one wonders why John Hughes had to write in the tacky subplot of older boy Buck's dalliance with local tart-with-a-heart Cammie. It's dull fare, all in all, and Buck would be a perfectly likable character without the teen angst bit to go with it. The boredom of Buck mooching around with his sweetheart to the strains of cheese-guitar could have been cut down - or preferably cut out all together, leaving more room for developing other, shorter scenes - like the go-kart racing at the fun centre, or the pony trek through the woods. I'm sure I'm not alone in wishing these parts of the film had been made longer. The film also flags a bit towards the end when the 'moral' of the tale comes out, and Roman and Chet have to do a silly death-dash through the woods after Roman's daughters. This again seems like John Hughes feeling he has to do his duty in giving us a bit of all-American schmaltz but it would've been great without it. All in all, a very funny, light movie to pick you up when you feel down. Oh, and the raccoons are a nice touch!
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These woods really stink
PeterMitchell-506-56436429 January 2013
A one off for John Hughes. How long did it take for him to write this? Three days. Even judging from the first line of dialogue, this one doesn't get much better. It's slack comedy writing, obviously done in a rush. Like the slightly better Summer Rental, years earlier, Candy and family go to their cabin in the woods, one of his sons becoming lovestruck with a beautiful local girl. Candy of course, becomes hungry. We have the chipmunks to thank for providing the only funny lines of dialogue in this bomb- subtitled of course. I did like it too, when Candy and his little son were trying to get this bear off their hood. Candy's peace is invaded by the arrival of his irritably annoying brother, (you can say that again) Chet, the more successful brother, his wife played by Annette Benning, totally wasted in this unfunny fare. What's freaky is they have two twin daughters, red heads, who don't speak, so the bears are not the only spooky thing, out there in the woods. Only near the end, after a dilemma that brings the two families together, do we hear their voices. That's after Candy shoots the hair off a bear's rump. Candy's "bear round the campfire story" is long in the tooth too. As a John Hughes fan, make this one an exclusion, or out of interest, watch it to see how bad it is. You might actually like it, though I wouldn't put odds on it.
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John Hughes and John Candy have left a legacy of sheer entertaining films
Ed-Shullivan11 August 2018
Writer John Hughes and actor John Candy are a formidable combination that have unfortunately left only a dearth of films to remember their combined body of work by. The Great Outdoors is a fun family filled comedy/adventure film that will ensure a vast array of film lovers will never forget this comedy team long after they have left our physical world. Both men loved developing and delivering fun filled comedies. John Candy has a unique ability to bring writer John Hughes lines to life. I am sure that John Hughes wrote what would otherwise be considered silly dialogue but for the fact that John Hughes knew specifically that his lead actor the great John Candy with his many unique facial expressions and body contortion language would have his audience laughing with tears.

Add to the Hughes/Candy comedy combination the renowned first generation SNL alumni Dan Aykroyd playing Roman Craig, who is Chet Ripley's (John Candy) pompous brother-in-law who invites himself and his family to the Ripley getaway cottage and you have a superb storyline that you only wish the film was extended for at least one (1) more hour to the current 91 minute film length.

These are memorable and financially successful films (Planes, Trains & Automobiles, The Great Outdoors, Uncle Buck) that the Hughes/Candy collaboration were responsible for making. We miss both of you John(s) and rest in peace that your film legacy is well preserved and most loved with tears of sheer joy.

I give the Great Outdoors a perfect 10 out of 10 rating
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A Bear behind.....
FlashCallahan11 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Big-hearted family man Chet has brought his family to a lakeside resort area, and although his wife and kids aren't quite as excited as he is, Chet has high hopes for the vacation.

However, his optimism is sabotaged when his obnoxious brother-in-law Roman drops in unexpectedly, along with his snooty, strange family.

Chet and his family try to stay open-minded, but they find it difficult to relax and enjoy themselves because of the constant annoyance of Roman's presence.....

It's one of those fish out of water comedies, with a family with whom you root for and relate to, and the family who you dislike to begin with, and then warm to come the end.

It's surprising how many of these films were made in the eighties and the nineties, and we always saw them, knowing that the snotty family would know the error of their ways come the end, but as always, the happy family man would be the butt end of many jokes during the film.

Candy is as good as always, and Akroyd is fine also, but the film is so clichéd and full of troupes, you cannot help but be aware of these, no matter how much you liked it the first time you saw it.

Come the end, everyone is happy, the rich are poorer, but richer in life lessons, and the ones we were rooting for all along, are the same, but a tad smugger.

it's fun while it lasts, but forgettable.

And the raccoons are hilarious, and they make me laugh out loud just seeing them on screen.
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Funny comedy about those in-laws who just have to crash the party.
Aaron137510 January 2010
This film was a funny John Candy and Dan Akroyd comedy about a family who is going to the wilderness for a nice little family trip at a cabin. Everything seems to be going fine until the brother-in-law arrives with his family in tow to join the first unsuspecting family during their stay. John Candy heads the family that is at the site first and not really expecting the second family headed by the slightly obnoxious brother-in-law played very well by Dan Akroyd. Though he is a step or two down from the strange obnoxious person he played in the John Belushi comedy "Neighbors". He is rather bad, but this is not a case of the two families really disliking each other like in some other movies. Also, Akroyd's family is a bit more welcome than say Randy Quaid's family was in the movie "Christmas Vacation". So basically the movie is about the two families misadventures while Akroyd's character undermines John Candy's as he brings lobster instead of eating hot dogs and is determined to rent a speed boat rather than a pontoon. He also encourages Candy's character to take the ultimate steak eating challenge. Very good stuff indeed as this time Candy is the more down to earth character that is a bit put upon, he does the opposite role well too as he was good as the guy causing the trouble in "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles". All in all a good comedy that the family can enjoy together, granted there are a few risqué jokes here and there.
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pretty decent John Candy film
disdressed1227 November 2007
while i don't think this is the best John Candy movie made,it is still pretty good.i guess it's considered a classic by now,being over 20 years old,and i think it deserves that certainly has its funny moments.and John Candy is just so likable,how could you not like him.Dan Akroyd is also in the movie and he does good in his's a quality family movie,but there is a bit of mild language and implied sexual innuendo.still,i don't think it's anything the whole family couldn't watch,except maybe really young kids.there is a lot of improvisation going on in this movie,which i really liked.the only negative thing i can say about this movie is that it takes a bit of time to get going.other than that that,it's a pretty good offering. 7/10
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