Monday, 28 January 2013

Planes, Trains & Automobiles Review

I would imagine that when most critics saw Due Date, they said it was not much more than a retelling of Planes, Trains & Automobiles.  However, I had never seen Planes so Due Date was just another road trip movie with wacky adventures for me.  My first reaction when seeing Planes was "this is an awful lot like Due Date."  I had to remind myself that the John Hughes movie is actually almost 25 years older and did it first.

It's a basic odd couple tale where two guys are put into an absurd situation and the stuffy one learns a lot about himself and being a better person.  The fat one with the facial hair does wacky things that make us laugh.  Like most John Candy films, it is really just a vehicle to showcase his comedic ability.  The story is not supposed to be deep.  The resolution can be seen coming in the opening credits.  And the co-star exists simply to allow the jokes to come.  It's odd because Steve Martin can do all of that stuff on his own very well.  So making him the straight man to Candy's jokes was different.  And there are a couple of times when they do let Martin have some of the spotlight.  (His encounter with Edie McClurg at the car rental counter comes to mind.)  But, for the most part, the quality of this movie hinges on one thing: does it make you laugh?  Yes, it does.  It remains upbeat and the jokes and slapstick are quality.  It's a good thing too because, like most 80s comedies, they go all-in on that one aspect.

The one thing Due Date did to a greater degree was to polarize the characters more.  Robert Downey Jr was much more of an a-hole and Zack Galifinakis was much more of a doofus.  That allowed Due Date to be more of a zany and crude comedy.  But it also allowed Planes to be more down to earth and relate-able. The only downside is that the consistency of the characters suffers.  Candy is supposed to playing a doofus.  But there are times when he seems to have more depth than you would expect from a guy who would read a smut novel in the airport.

But, all in all, Planes delivers on it's promise for laughs.  See it.

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