BOTTOM LINE: UNCLE BUCK is a funny, warm and winning piece of film making. Sure to please the kids and fans who love and miss the work of both Hughes & Candy. It's a shame we'll never get more films from either of these two talents, but at least we have their legacy on DVD & Blu-ray to remember them by. 4 STARS
THE STORY (contains spoilers): Big teddy bear of an actor John Candy plays Buck Russell, a lovable lug with little class, few morals and no work ethic to speak of. Buck is called up in the middle of the night by his desperate brother to babysit the guy's kids, when he & his wife are suddenly called out of town to take care of her ailing mother. Buck begrudgingly agrees. The kids are both suspicious of the brash oaf, and the teenage daughter is thoroughly rude and disrespectful of the rotund, slovenly blue collar stranger - at first. Eventually though, his irreverent, oddball "parenting" style wins them over, and in the end Buck learns as much from the kids as he teaches them. When the astonished parents return home, they find three changed (for the better) kids, and a sort-of new Buck, too.
THOUGHTS: Sure, this film is a little sappy & predictable but it IS a John Hughes film after all. And besides it's got John Candy in the lead! That's enough to sell me. The various supporting actors are all pretty good in their roles. Of special note is the winning, star-making performance from a very young Macaulay Culkin, (in what I believe is his first major film role), as Buck's innocent and endlessly curious young nephew, Miles. Gaby Hoffmann is cute as a button as Maizy, the 6 year-old daydreamer, and Jean Louisa Kelly is totally believable as headstrong Tia, Buck's icy, teen-aged niece, who is at that age where she knows everything and cannot stand anyone over the age of 16. Amy Madigan is terrific in her small but pivotal role as Buck's loyal, long-suffering girlfriend, Chanice. Ditsy Laurie Metcalf is hilarious in her bit part as an over-sexed, man-hungry neighbor of the Russell's who throws herself at the thick-headed Buck, who seems hilariously oblivious to her horny designs.
THE BLU-RAY: Sadly, there's nothing really special about this Universal Blu-ray for UNCLE BUCK. That bummed me out as I was expecting a LOT better quality picture & sound for a high-def Blu-ray release. The audio & video are alright, but IMHO not that much better than a standard DVD. There's nothing extra in the way of bonus features either, which sucks.