Steve Martin and John Candy are a mismatch made in comedy heaven in a road movie that busts guts and seatbelts in equal measure. Martin is the ad man desperate to get home for the holidays who finds himself lumbered with Candy's oafish but well-meaning fellow traveller. Writer/director John Hughes shifts confidently between the gears of slapstick and sentiment but nothing can slow down the constant traffic of verbal and visual gags.
To anyone who has suffered the pains and anguish of long-distance travel, director John Hughes' nightmare odyssey may provide a crumb of comic comfort.
Frazzled ad executive Neil (Martin) is on his way home for Thanksgiving after an out-of-state conference. Or is he?
Taxi? Whisked from under his nose. Plane? Delayed, then diverted, then cancelled. Train? The engine erupts in a pall of black smoke. Hired car? How about a crash followed by a fire?
Worse still, Neil is saddled with the company of Del (Candy), a fat and gabby salesman with whom he's forced to share double beds in motel rooms half-way across America.
There are some good laughs along their disaster-strewn route, and the sentimental ending works well.
Martin is marvellous, though, and Candy inspired (and, at the end, quite touching) in one of his best film roles.
Warning: the unabridged version contains a (very funny) scene containing a torrent of swearing. Those of a sensitive disposition may want to tune out when Neil tries to hire a car...