Movie Review: Uncle Buck (1989)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1989 comedy starring John Candy and Jean Louisa Kelly.

Synopsis:Shortly after moving to a Chicago suburb with her family, Cindy learns her dad has had a heart attack and, with her husband, returns to Indianapolis to take care of him. Because they are unable to find anyone else, she reluctantly agrees to let her unemployed black sheep brother-in-law, Buck, take care of her three kids, including her rebellious 15-year-old daughter.


I came across this movie last night while waiting for my daughters to finish up with dinner and get ready for bed. At first, I wasn't planning on watching it. However, after seeing the first few minutes of the film, it ended up being my movie for the night.

There are quite a few movies, especially in the comedy genre, that aren't overly impressive plot-wise but are memorable because of the performances of their stars. This is a movie I would put in that category because, while the overall story isn't any different than dozens of other family-themed comedies I've seen, it still managed to be funny because of the way the various characters were portrayed.

John Candy, for example, was fantastic in the lead role. In addition bringing the goofiness you would expect, he also managed to be surprisingly intimidating when the situation called for it. This was especially true when he was interacting with his niece's (Kelly) boyfriend, Bug (Jay Underwood).

The actor who surprised me most in this film, however, was Macaulay Culkin. I'm not normally a fan of his films. But, I loved the way his character interacted both with his uncle and with pretty much everyone else he encountered. The scene toward the end of the film, when he's making Buck's girlfriend (Amy Madigan) jump through hoops before letting her in the house was hilarious.

I think the one thing that really disappointed me about this movie was the limited screen time given to their neighbor, Marcie (Metcalf). It was fun to watch her interact with Buck (especially when there was some sort of misunderstanding about what was going on) and it would have been great to see her have more of a role in the film, especially toward the end, just because I think it would have added an element of unpredictability that would have only made the movie better overall.

Final Opinion

The overall plot isn't anything overly special. However a strong performance by Candy and his supporting cast did make this movie fun to watch. I would recommend it if you haven't seen it or haven't watched it in a very long time.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 04/20/2017, StevenHelmer
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