Main      Site Guide    
At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (1987)



Reviews and Comments

Interesting comic pairings don't always work -- lots of times producers will rely on the star power to sell the movie and slack off on the script. But Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, which pairs Steve Martin and John Candy, is a smart and funny comedy. The script lives up to the talent; the talent has something to sink its teeth into.

The movie was written and directed by John Hughes at the peak of his career (before Home Alone sidetracked him with slapstick and pratfalls). The story has Martin on his way home to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Along the way, he meets Candy and a whole mess of bad luck. Going home ends up being a lot more hassle than it should be, and, as the title may suggest, he resorts to many means alternate of transportation to get there.

The comic flair comes from the delightful, energetic chemistry of the two leads. Watching them is hilarious -- so much so that the movie almost would have gotten away with dispensing the plot entirely in favor of throwing Martin and Candy into various situations and letting them work their way through them. Actually that's close to what this movie really does.

It's one of Steve Martin's best films. It's arguably John Hughes' best film. It's undoubtedly John Candy's best film. Needless to say, I highly recommend it.