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‘Uncle Buck’ review

Cindy (Elaine Bromka) and Bob Russell (Garrett M. Brown) receive an urgent phonecall and have to make a trip to visit a family member in the hospital. Realising the urgency of the situation, they struggle to find a babysitter for their three kids Tia (Jean Louisa Kelly), Maizy (Gaby Hoffman) and Miles (Macaulay Culkin). Bob suggests his brother Buck (John Candy) and while Cindy’s not crazy on the idea, she relents when she realises it’s their only option. Buck, an unemployed and irresponsible man, arrives at the house and chaos ensues as he tries to prove he can be responsible.

‘Uncle Buck’ is a classic John Hughes movie from 1989 and it’s one I remember very fondly from my childhood. A comedy with a big heart, the film is essentially about a man who refuses to grow up but is forced to do so when he’s unexpectedly called up to look after his nieces and nephew. We get a glimpse at the chaos and disorder of Buck’s life at the beginning of the film as he lets his girlfriend Chanice (Amy Madigan) down by snubbing her job offer in favour of babysitting for his brother.

Buck’s attempt to win over his relatives doesn’t go as smoothly as he expects. Maizy and Miles love their carefree and silly uncle, fascinated by his methods of completing household chores such as microwaving the washing, while Tia is older and rebels against the uncle she barely knows. As Tia pursues a relationship with Bug (Jay Underwood), she does everything she can to annoy, undermine and humiliate her uncle. The power struggle between the two characters provides some of the film’s best moments and their eventual friendship is a satisfying resolution for the characters.

John Candy is the star of the film and his sense of comedic timing and natural charm reminds you just how sorely missed he is. No other comedy actor came close to him in the 80s and 90s, and paired with the incredible John Hughes, he was unstoppable. Uncle Buck was the perfect role for Candy enabling him to make you laugh and also feel a little warm and fuzzy. There’s a brilliant supporting turn from Laurie Metcalf too as nosy neighbour Marcie who sets her sights on Buck without stopping to consider he might not want to reciprocate her advances.

This new Blu-ray edition looks fantastic and it’s the best version of ‘Uncle Buck’ I’ve ever seen. The picture is crystal clear and looks very clean on the screen. It’s a real joy to watch a film I remember so fondly in HD and this is without a doubt the definitive version.

‘Uncle Buck’ is hilarious and it packs a lot of heart too. It’s a classic fish-out-of-water comedy with a stellar cast and strong direction from Hughes, who also wrote the screenplay. It started the careers of Macaulay Culkin and Gaby Hoffman, and it’s a welcome excuse to revisit the 80s when comedies concentrated on being heartwarming and funny, rather than shoving an agenda down your throat.

Uncle Buck
Credit: Fabulous Films / Fremantle Media Enterprises

Cast: John Candy, Jean Louisa Kelly, Gaby Hoffman, Macaulay Culkin, Amy Madigan, Elaine Bromka, Garrett M. Brown, Laurie Metcalf, Jay Underwood Director: John Hughes Writer: John Hughes Certificate: 12 Duration: 100 mins Released by: Fabulous Films Ltd / Fremantle Media Enterprises Release date: 28th September 2020 Buy ‘Uncle Buck’

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Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip Ellwood-Hughes
Pip is the Editor of Entertainment Focus and the Managing Director of agency Piñata Media.

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