Movie Review – The Great Outdoors (1988)

The Great Outdoors (1988)A Chicago man’s hope for a peaceful family vacation in the woods is shattered when the annoying in-laws drop in.

Director: Howard Deutch
Writer: John Hughes
Stars: Dan Aykroyd, John Candy and Stephanie Faracy

I miss John Candy. He was a riot, albeit an incredibly unhealthy man. The Great Outdoors, originally titled Big Country, was a fun film that had a bunch of laugh out loud moments. Between John Candy and Dan Aykroyd, you are entertained throughout the entire film in one form or another. While not the best film from either lead actor, I had a really good time revisiting this one.

What ended up happening was that my kids wanted to have what they call a slumber party. I call it them not being tired and wanting to sleep in the family room and watch television all night. Well, being the sucker that I am, I fell for it (like I do every time). I looked up something that Comcast had On Demand and The Great Outdoors came up on the cable box. I gave it a go. Please note that this is not a kids’ film though. I would say that kids should really be about 13 to watch this one. Regardless of their age, they had a ball with it – as did I.

John Candy has always had a presence on camera as does Dan Aykroyd, although Aykroyd is kind of just there in this film. This film is all John Candy. From the hilarious waterskiiing scenes to scenes were Candy and Aykroyd take on a bat, there are some scenes that still hold up and still make me laugh. This is 80s Comedy at a very high clip.

To me, The Great Outdoors is all about summer. This is one of those summer films that has summer written all over it. Face it, we have all had vacations that did not turn out like we hoped, but for better or worse, we realize what it is that matters and we make the most of it. The same happens in this film. No matter how bad it gets, we all end up seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and we are reminded of what really matters.