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Paramount Studios presents
Planes, Trains and Automobiles (1987)

"Don't let me stand in your way, don't let me stand in your way. The last thing I wantto be remembered as is an annoying blabbermouth. You know, nothing grinds my gears worsethan some chowderhead who doesn't know how to keep his big trap shut. You catch merunning off at the mouth, just give me a poke in the chops."
- Del Griffith (John Candy)

Review By: Mark Zimmer   
Published: November 29, 2000

Stars: Steve Martin, John Candy
Other Stars: William Windom (uncredited), Kevin Bacon, Ben Stein, Laila Robins, MichaelMcKean, Edie McClurg
Director: John Hughes

Manufacturer: MUMS
MPAA Rating: R for (language)
Run Time: 01h:32m:24s
Release Date: November 21, 2000
UPC: 097363203643
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

Anyone who's ever been bumped off a flight or had to sit next to a blabbering moron on a trip somewhere, or who's ever taken a bus, will surely appreciate the humor inherent in the maddening situations in the John Hughes classic, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. One can expect any number of these disasters to happen over the course of a lifetime, but what if they all happened in one trip? When you compound this with John Candy's easygoing buffoonery and Steve Martin's uptight slow burn, you've got a recipe for hilarity.

Neal Page (Martin) is running late for his flight back to Chicago for Thanksgiving from an endless meeting in New York. Trying to catch a taxi, he runs afoul of Del Griffith (Candy). Through mishaps he makes it to the airport only to find the flight delayed. When he's aboard the plane, his seatmate is none other than Griffith. When weather forces them to go to Wichita, the nightmares compound endlessly. No matter how hard Neal tries to shake Del, the big guy keeps turning up like a bad penny, ready to cause another round of grief, unintentionally keeping Neal away from his family and his turkey.

The comedy is overall excellent, playing Martin and Candy's respective personas off each other with expert timing and occasionally more than a shade of pathos. While Griffith is a bumbler who causes nothing but trouble, he still means well. Despite Neal's being wound too tight, enough of Del rubs off on him to make him a better person by the end, in a fairly predictable manner. However, the laughs are frequent enough to make one overlook this rather sappy moment and the slightly mawkish sentimentality that crops up on occasion.

The supporting cast is terrific, too, with notables such as Kevin Bacon and Ben Stein in small parts. An uncredited William Windom does a great job with the executive who can't make up his mind in the first scene. The language gets a bit rough in the scene with Edie McClurg as an insufferably perky car rental agent; otherwise this would have been a good family film. Don't stop the film when the credits roll, or you'll miss one of the best gags, right at the end.

Rating for Style: A
Rating for Substance: A-


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The anamorphic picture has good natural colors and nice blacks, with plenty of shadow detail. The picture is slightly soft and lacking in definition, which is rather surprising in a Paramount transfer. The source print has no visible damage, so this is a pleasant enough viewing experience despite the softness.

Image Transfer Grade: B+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: The DD 5.1 audio remix is quite good. The dialogue is center-oriented, but when the picture is out in the city, one is really wrapped up in the soundscape. One early scene feels as if you're really on a busy New York street. There's no subwoofer activity to speak of, but the surrounds are used regularly for ambient sound and for music. It's not flashy, but it's an excellent use of sound to create an atmosphere.

Audio Transfer Grade: A


Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 27 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: The chaptering is generous, and there are English subtitles. But beyond that, nothing. Not even a trailer.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

A hilarious comedy that has held up extremely well, with an interesting sound mix presentation here. Recommended for the movie even though it's unfortunately a very barebones edition.


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