tek's rating: ¾

Uncle Buck (PG)
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So, this came out in 1989. It was followed in 1990 by a very short-lived sitcom of the same name, which I probably saw before I ever saw this, but now I don't really remember the sitcom. Which is probably for the best. I also want to mention that Macaulay Culkin was in this, and in 1990 he'd star in Home Alone, which made him a huge star at a very young age. And that movie never would have happened if not for this movie, I guess, though there's no relation between the two. Other than Culkin, and of course writer/producer John Hughes. Anyway, I think I probably saw Home Alone before I saw this. Honestly, I don't remember exactly when I first saw this on TV, but it must have been in the early 90s. And then I don't think I saw it again until I watched it on DVD in 2013 (the DVD I got is actually a double feature which also contains the movie The Great Outdoors).

Anyway. John Candy plays Buck Russell, who doesn't have a job or any responsibilities at all. He apparently makes a living betting on horse races, though we don't actually see any of that in the movie... and he may have other ways of making cash, I don't really know. He also has a girlfriend named Chanice, who wants to get married, and also wants to get him a job where she works. But he's not wild about either idea. Anyway, Buck has a brother named Bob, who has a wife named Cindy. One night they get a call saying Cindy's dad had a heart attack, and is in the hospital. They had recently moved from Indianapolis to Chicago (or a suburb thereof), and now they want to go back to Indianapolis to see Cindy's dad. So Bob calls Buck to come look after the kids while they're away (which Cindy isn't happy about, but they have no other choice). The oldest is a teenager named Tia, who resents having moved, and generally seems annoyed by everyone and everything (especially her mother). And she has a younger brother and sister, Miles (Culkin) and Maizy (Gaby Hoffmann), who are of course both adorable and sweet (and Miles is somewhat precocious, I'd say). The younger kids take to Buck fairly quickly, but Tia immediately hates him.

Um... so, basically, the movie's a comedy, but a bit weird (though I chose to call it "quirky"), and of course it has some heart. For the most part the plot seems to me like a series of self-contained scenes that are each set up to show off Buck's quirkiness. Or whatever. I dunno. But the major thread running throughout the movie is a sort of battle of wills between Buck and Tia. He turns out to be, surprisingly enough, more serious about parenting than the kids' real parents are... though he does take it to extremes. And all this will of course ultimately have an impact on his own life and plans with Chanice. And in some weird way, it seems to have a positive impact on Tia's relationship with her mom. Mostly though, it's just a funny (if slightly unhinged) movie.

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