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Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> September 1998 >> Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

Movie Commentary by Scott Ventura


Scott's Rating:
5 / 5
Times Seen:
Viewing Date:
September 1998
IMDB Name:
Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)
John Hughes
MPAA Rating:

Comedy of Errors

Planes, Trains & Automobiles starts out with a frustrated Steve Martin trying to get home. For lack of another candidate, we suspect him to be our protagonist. When Martin is thwarted repeatedly by John Candy, we suspect that we may have an antagonist. Could we be more wrong? The movie toys with the loyalty of the audience for quite a ways, giving Martin an acidic personality and giving Candy a sugar-sweet demeanor. The two eventually show their other sides, but not before life throws some amazing adventures their way.

By this point, director John Hughes had cranked out some very successful teen comedies like Ferris Bueller's Day Off and The Breakfast Club. Planes once again shows off his ability to make tragic characters both lovable and funny. The characters are so much more than just targets for the jokes, and the aforementioned loyalty-toying brings the audience close. It was heartbreaking when they started revealing the character's histories, which made the comedy that much sweeter by contrast. It is also a tremendous relief to the audience at the end because of the intimate involvement with the characters when they reach their destination.

Road Warriors

The uncanny bad luck of Del and Neil is very funny, and yet, strangely believable. There's nothing that I remember that made me say "no, it can't be!" Given the level of silliness, that's quite an accomplishment, but then, Hughes seems to think things through pretty thoroughly beforehand.

Other Opinions

Copyright 1998-2001 by Scott Ventura. All rights reserved.