Sunday, February 05, 2006

Steve Martin & John Candy: can't go wrong

Having seen only a few snippets of it here and there on TV, I decided to watch the entire film Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Steve Martin (Neal) and John Candy (Dell) are no less than the comic geniuses they are expected to be. The ultimate odd couple, they are stuck together in various uncomfortable sleeping situations and modes of transportation as Neal tries to get home to his family for Thanksgiving and is trapped by Dell's annoying presence. Although the dilemmas that arise are predictable in that too-many-coincidences-in-a-row kind of way, the comedy makes it worth watching.

Underneath the hilarity, though, there is a sentimental tone. Neal's wife and kids are waiting for him to come home, which is shown throughout, and they have an emotional reunion at the end. Also, Neal and Dell come to understand, and perhaps like, each other. It is refreshing to see this relationship develop between two strangers. Planes... is one of those movies I could watch over and over, mainly because the pillow scene will never stop being funny. Watch this movie if you like lighthearted, no surprises, feel-good comedy.

P.S. - Grace (Rooney's secretary) from Ferris Bueller makes an appearance as the clerk at the rental car agency. These two movies also have the same writer and director, John Hughes.


Vladigogo said...

One student last year made an argument that you should see FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF and then SHE'S HAVING A BABY and then PLANES, TRAINS AND AUTOMOBILES as a John Hughes trilogy as he looks to chart the development and maturity of males through the 80s. Ferris is in his late teens, in SHE'S HAVING A BABY you have Kevin Bacon's character in his 20s, and then the Steve Martin figure is in late 30s, early 40s. It's an interesting argument and both films are worth seeing. Plus, SHE'S HAVING A BABY uses a great Kate Bush song at one point.

Brian said...

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles details Neal’s (Steve Martin) frenetic and hilarious journey home for Thanksgiving. Along the way, he meets the annoying but overall good natured Del, who consistently proves to be a thorn in Neal’s side, until they finally end up becoming friends at the end. The crazy situations the pair gets into while on the way to Neal’s home in Chicago—where most of John Hughes’ films seem to take place, or at least nearby, include burning cars and melted speedometers, awkwardly small hotel rooms, annoying rental car agents, and even a ‘footloose’ cab thief.

I agree with the above blogger’s opinion on this movie, many of the situations Neal and Del get into are astonishingly coincidental, but Martin and Candy make it work. Though there have been many movies made like this—the formula of someone trying to get home for the holidays while they encounter comedic problem after comedic problem has been done over and over again in films, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles manages to make it original. The movie is able to pull a real emotional vibe out of the script in the growing friendship between Del and Neal, and move the movie beyond simply being a comedy, just as Hughes did in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone looking for a good laugh or a buddy comedy with real depth. It definitely holds up to, and probably surpasses, the majority of movies of this type that have been made since its release. Fans of John Candy or Steve Martin will love this movie.