During the 1980s big screen comedy was dominated by director/screenwriter John Hughes (Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off). He churned out film after film during that decade and fans lined up to see them. He managed to capture lightning in a bottle during that ten year span. He was a man who was able to give film fans what they wanted to see on the big screen. After the 80s he continued to work, but never replicated the success of that decade.
Showing his wisdom and success, Hughes calls upon two of the biggest comedic actors of the decade – Steve Martin and John Candy – to play his two leads. The two play really well off of each other. Martin is the straight man with Candy sliding into the buffoon role. It is a situation of perfect casting and great chemistry.
Working as an advertising executive sometimes takes Neal Page (Steve Martin – Bowfinger, The Jerk) away from his family. This is the case just before Thanksgiving as he is in New York City. After a long, agonizing meeting he has little time to catch a cab (easier said than done in NYC during rush hour) and get on his flight back to Chicago. His luck goes from bad to worse after he loses a cab to another man and then ends up sitting beside traveling shower curtain ring salesman, Del Griffith (John Candy – Uncle Buck, Spaceballs), a rather chatty customer. Things get even worse when, due to a snowstorm in Chicago, the flight is diverted to Wichita, Kansas.
Neal is determined to get home for Thanksgiving dinner despite all the cards being stacked against him. The annoying Del tags along with him claiming to be able to help him get back to Chicago. Though it seems like Del is more of a hindrance than a help.
The film was released 44 years ago and yet you can still sit down and enjoy it today. It features that timeless quality good comedy possesses. It goes to the well-known comedic well of putting two opposites onscreen together. It has been, if done well, a winning formula since the days of Laurel and Hardy. Anyone with a sense of humour can appreciate this. Though I had not watched this film since it first came out I still remembered some of the classic lines like “Those aren’t two pillows” and the car rental scene in which the climax comes in the form of the line “You’re f%@*ed!”.
- In-depth retrospective on John Hughes’ career
- Getting There is Half the Fun: The Story of Planes, Trains And Automobiles
- John Hughes For Adults
- Tribute to John Candy
- Deleted scene