ABC Film Challenge – 80s Movies – H – Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987) Movie Review

This is under H because of director John Hughes.

Director: John Hughes

Writer: John Hughes (Screenplay)

Starring: Steve Martin, John Candy, Laila Robins, Michael McKean, Kevin Bacon, Dylan Baker

Plot: A man must struggle to travel home for Thanksgiving with a lovable oaf of a shower curtain ring salesman as his only companion.

Tagline – Pack in the Laughter! 

Runtime: 1 Hour 33 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Simple Road Trip Movie

Story: Planes, Trains & Automobiles starts when businessman Neal Page (Martin) who is trying to get home from New York for Thanksgiving, he first misses his taxi with Del Griffith (Candy) taking the cab, and his plane gets diverted to Wichita, where Neal must trust the help of Del to get home.

The unlikely pair clash, with Neal wanting to keep himself to himself, while Del is always wanting to chat, with connections all the way home, only things don’t always go to plan.

Thoughts on Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Characters – Neal is a successful businessman that has to get home for Thanksgiving from New York, he has it planned, but gets caught up in the middle of rush hour traffic, missing his plane home, where he sees his plane is diverted an dis left with mild-mannered happy go lucky Del. He constantly tries to ditch Del, but the two keep meeting and helping him along the journey. Del Griffith is a travelling salesman, he is always smiling through life, which rubs Neal the wrong way. The two constantly clash together. We do meet the colourful characters they meet along the way, who are played more for laughs than anything else.

PerformancesSteve Martin does work well as the stuck up businessman, while John Candy as the ever positive character gets to bounce of Martin well through the film.

StoryThe story here follows one man trying to get from New York to California in time for Thanksgiving, only everything goes wrong along the way and an unlikely friendship starts between him and a travelling salesman. This story does focus too heavily on Neal’s life and what he wants, which does play into his selfish nature, we get the idea that Thanksgiving will bring out the crazy in people who are trying to travelling across country and what it means to get there, while neglecting the big heart that we don’t see until the final act. We seem to focus on a situation for laughs, rather than furthering the story too, which just makes it an simple one to watch too.

ComedyThe comedy is hit or miss really, we have the occasional strong moment, while the rest seems to focus on forced laughs which don’t always come.

SettingsThe film is a road trip movie, so we do see our characters in plenty of different locations, which usually all including somewhere travel related.

Scene of the Movie – I want a car.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – It doesn’t get the heart side of the film out enough.

Final Thoughts This is an easy to watch comedy that tries more for laughs than the heart it wants to push to front and centre.

Overall: Average Comedy.

Leave a Reply