Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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Train Don't Run Outta Wichita, Unlessin' You're A Hog...Or A Cattle

May 13, 2004
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Candy and Martin at their very best

Cons:Hmmm, I guess I would have to say...NOTHING!!!

The Bottom Line: Planes, Trains And Automobiles is Candy and Martin at their very best. This film needs to be in your collection.


Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie's plot.

Traveling can many times be a harrowing experience. Sure, it can be fun and exhilarating when everything goes to plan and you’re with friends and loved ones. However, when things go haywire, it can be pure torture if you’ve got nobody to share the painful experience with. Even then, your patience can by tried to the very end. If you can understand the feelings I’m describing, then I’ve got the solution…Planes, Trains And Automobiles. After watching it, you’ll never again be upset when traveling snarls strand you in Timbuktu.

Planes, Trains And Automobiles features the superb comedic talents of John Candy and Steve Martin. Candy plays the rough around the edges shower curtain ring salesman Del Griffith and Steve Martin is the uptight marketing executive Neal Page. They are thrust into “friendship” because of travel issues and complete hilarity ensues.

We first meet Neal and Del as they are trying to catch a cab in New York City right in the middle of rush hour. Miraculously, Neal is able to hail a cab. Quickly, Del steals it away and their misadventures and rocky relationship begins. They are both trying to get to Chicago for Thanksgiving. However, the weather reeks havoc on their travel plans and they are diverted to Wichita.

Wichita proves to be just as problematic. Because of the Midwest storms and air traffic snarls, they are unable to get any flights to Chicago. So, why not take a train? Needless to say, the train doesn’t quite work out as planned. It breaks down and they are forced to make new arrangements.

Eventually, they make it to St. Louis and decide to split up. In reality, Neal is tired of Del’s company so he uses the excuse that it’s easier to travel separately. Neal has some problems with his rental car at the airport and is nearly run over in the road after being knocked loopy by a taxi dispatcher. Want to guess who nearly kills him? Yep, Del. Once again, they team up, hop in the car together and make their way to Chicago. After some hilarious misadventures, they make it to Chicago. Along the way, they become friends and spend the holiday together.

Sure, Planes, Trains And Automobiles sounds like your standard road trip movie, but with the talents of Candy and Martin, along with the script by John Hughes, the film succeeds where others would fail. There is basically no supporting cast so both actors are on the screen for the entirety of the film. The success of the film falls squarely on their shoulders so they must be perfect for it to succeed. Luckily, they are up to the challenge.

Martin is wonderful as the stuffy executive. This film was before he stopped taking acting risks and decided to make “sweet” films. While always acting proper, he’s still able to deliver some of the raunchiest lines with perfect precision. You can see that he loves his family and desperately wants to get home to see them. Unfortunately, the circumstances and his annoying traveling companion (John Candy) make his quest virtually impossible. Candy plays the lovable loser in the film and he is excellent. He’s lonely, yet happy with his life. Sure, he would like it to improve but he’s content with where he is at. He’s a likable guy with no true friends, just business acquaintances. Those acquaintances must respect him because throughout the film he calls on them for favors and they reciprocate. Sure, his stories have no point and he can be gross, but Candy plays the character with a sweet underlining tone that serves as the perfect compliment to Martin’s Neal. Both actors put in two of the best performances of their careers.

While it’s hard to describe all of the funny parts of Planes, Trains And Automobiles, there are a few scenes that you’ll want to pay special attention to. The scene in the hotel room where Del and Neal share a tiny bed is great and their reactions to each other are wonderful. The entire car trip from St. Louis to Chicago is filled with the funniest moments in the film, especially the portion with the state trooper who is played straight as an arrow by funnyman Michael McKean.

The third star behind Candy and Martin is unquestionably John Hughes. During the eighties, his films were pure gold. Just think, between 1983 and 1989 he was involved with such gems as National Lampoon's Vacation, Uncle Buck, Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Pretty In Pink and Weird Science. Planes, Trains And Automobiles is a continuation of those classics. Sure, it’s a bit more adult in nature, but the underlining sweetness and humor is just as evident. The script is wonderful and the casting couldn’t have been better.

There is one problem with the DVD of Planes, Trains And Automobiles---NO EXTRAS!!!!! Sure, the film is presented in wide screen, but other than that, there is absolutely nothing. There’s no commentary, no additional scenes, nothing. You’re strictly getting the movie and nothing else. Luckily, the film is excellent so it’s not a deal breaker.

Planes, Trains And Automobiles is a must have DVD if you are fan of Steve Martin, John Candy or John Hughes. If you enjoy hilarious comedies, then you’ll want to add this film to your collection as well. Even though the DVD extras are non-existent, I can’t think of one reason why you wouldn’t want to have this movie on your shelf.


Recommend this product? Yes


Viewing Format: DVD
Video Occasion: Good for Groups
Suitability For Children: Not suitable for Children of any age

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