Candy's 'Buck' is a victim of comedy devaluation|
Uncle Buck ## (out of four) John Candy ... Uncle Buck Amy
Madigan ... Chanice Kobolowski Jean Kelly ... Tia Russell
Gaby Hoffman ... Maizy Russell Macaulay Culkin ... Miles
A Universal Pictures release. Produced by John Hughes and Tom
Jacobson. Written and directed by Hughes. In theaters
nationally. Rated PG (mild profanity).
A John Hughes movie is 15 minutes of material stretched into
a 90-minute feature by a rec-room rack from the Karloff
estate; the only question is whether the 15 have their comic
compensations. Uncle Buck has a few, though they're typically
compromised by the cut-and-paste nature of the rest.
If you've seen the ads - or simply juxtaposed ''Uncle Buck''
with ''John Candy'' - you're already on pace with this
inoffensive multiplex piffle. We open with an indolent
bachelor slob, and an emergency that forces him to baby-sit
his brother's kids (ages 6 to 15). We close with a snotty
niece unconvincingly humanized, and the slob's sudden
realization (after only eight years of waffling) that his
fiancee might be worth marrying.
Well, it's been a long, often pandering movie summer. What do
you expect on Aug. 16 - O'Neill's Strange Interlude?
On the plus side, there's Candy (who still deserves better),
Amy Madigan (largely wasted as the fiancee), one photogenic
teen-age smirk (courtesy of newcomer Jean Kelly), one
precocious child actor (Macaulay Culkin), and some
attractively muted winter color schemes from cinematographer
Ralf Bode. Best of all: another film-stealing performance by
Laurie Metcalf, cast here as a nosy sexual predator from
across the street.
Undercutting them all are the consistent Hughes trademarks:
gratuitous scenes, an awkward meshing of fantasy and reality,
extended comic build-ups for kickers that too often don't
deliver, and climactic sentimentality that negates most of
what has preceded.
Though acceptable family fodder for moviegoing parents who
prefer not to blush in front of their kids, Hughes' continued
foray into so-called adult cinema continues to be less than
promising. If Uncle Buck is an adult comedy, The Hucklebuck
is one of this century's enduring pop-tune standards.