Archive Review: Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

Since I made the comparison to “Due Date,” here’s my short review from a couple years back.

There’s not a lot of explicit or physical humor in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” but such is the case with most John Hughes comedies: you get more of a natural, every-day sort of a humor in a film that’s just as family-oriented as it is a comedy. This film is mainly a story about two strangers coming together despite their quirky differences, with the goal of just getting home as all their travel plans go awry. It’s not clever, it’s not farcical, it’s just real, very real.

Steve Martin and John Candy put their comedic talents together to drive each other crazy in “Planes.” Both are on their way home for Thanksgiving when their flight to Chicago from New York ends up landing in Wichita, Kansas. Martin plays a business man with a sour attitude towards people when things aren’t pleasant and Candy plays a loud-mouthed shower curtain ring salesman who has some unusual habits. Naturally the two don’t get along and despite their every intention of separating, they find themselves back together, facing a myriad of rough situations.

Most of the laughs come from how these two treat each other in addition to the one you have at their misery and expense. The two make a great duo from the moments where they both hate each other to the more sincere ones. The truth is that this plot could happen to any of us (string of bad luck aside) and that’s what makes it so likable. We all have to deal with people we can’t stand and sometimes in the worst of situations. There’s also a really touching element about family in the film that takes you by surprised but isn’t unwarranted.

3.5/5 Stars

Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)
Written and Directed by John Hughes
Starring: Steve Martin, John Candy


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