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The Great Outdoors

John Candy stars as a sweet, slightly dopey family man who wagoneers his happy brood up from Chicago for a big-pines getaway. No sooner do they unpack than obnoxious brother-in-law Dan Aykroyd and his maladjusted family blast in uninvited to spend the week. His pampered wife (Annette Bening) eggs him on, while his spooky kids (twins Hilary and Rebecca Gordon) never say a word.

John Candy stars as a sweet, slightly dopey family man who wagoneers his happy brood up from Chicago for a big-pines getaway. No sooner do they unpack than obnoxious brother-in-law Dan Aykroyd and his maladjusted family blast in uninvited to spend the week. His pampered wife (Annette Bening) eggs him on, while his spooky kids (twins Hilary and Rebecca Gordon) never say a word.

Writer-executive producer John Hughes conjurs up a romance between Candy’s teenage son (Chris Young) and a local girl (Lucy Deakins), but that proves the film’s biggest letdown. Last third of the film is a real mess, as filmmakers try to whip up a crisis that will unite the family, with the redheaded twins getting lost in a mineshaft during a wild rainstorm.

Despite all this, the Aykroyd-Candy pairing is charmed. Stephanie Faracy is excellent as Candy’s sweet, happy wife, and Bening is also savvy in her role. Pic teams director Howard Deutch with Hughes for the third time.

The Great Outdoors

  • Production: Universal/Hughes. Director Howard Deutch; Producer Arne L. Schmidt; Screenplay John Hughes; Camera Ric Waite; Editor Tom Rolf, William Gordean, Seth Flaum; Music Thomas Newman; Art Director John W. Corso
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 90 MIN.
  • With: Dan Aykroyd John Candy Stephanie Faracy Annette Bening Chris Young Lucy Deakins
  • Music By: