The Great Outdoors

1988

The Great Outdoors

Critics Consensus

No consensus yet.

40%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 15

70%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 48,116
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Movie Info

A Chicago man's hope for a peaceful family vacation in the woods is shattered when the annoying in-laws drop in.

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Cast

Dan Aykroyd
as Roman Craig
John Candy
as Chet Ripley
Stephanie Faracy
as Connie Ripley
Annette Bening
as Kate Craig
Chris Young
as Buck Ripley
Ian Giatti
as Ben Ripley
Hilary Gordon
as Cara Craig
Rebecca Gordon
as Mara Craig
Robert Prosky
as Wally, Lodge Manager
Nancy Lenehan
as Waitress
Cliff Bemis
as Boat Yard Owner
Paul Hansen
as Hot Dog Vendor
Debra Lee Ortega
as Dancing Biker Girl
Sierra Somerville
as Girl in Arcade
Christine Spiotta
as Woman in Crowd
Chris Bass
as Lodge Patron
Shirley Jane Harris
as Lodge Customer
Christopher Kinsman
as Irate Customer
Andy Prosky
as Grill Chef
Raleigh Bond
as Grandpa
Barry Thompson
as Kitchen Help
Bart the Bear
as the bald-headed bear
Brian Healy
as Man in Crowd
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Critic Reviews for The Great Outdoors

All Critics (15)

Audience Reviews for The Great Outdoors

  • Dec 19, 2016
    You know, I've never thought about this until now, but I really miss seeing John Candy. And I realize that John Candy passed when I was only 6-years-old, but I think comedy nowadays is missing someone who can very easily portray these affable characters. The closest thing, and it doesn't even come close, that we have these days in Kevin James. And Kevin James is, honestly, a terrible comedic actor, just good at giving off the appearance of being a likable and friendly. As far as actual talent is concerned, John Candy is universes better than Kevin James. Did John Candy have the best track record in films? Particularly in the 90s until his death. No, no he didn't. But he was a good comedic actor regardless and, like I mentioned earlier, I've just come to the realization that I miss seeing him. It would have just been interesting to see where his career ended up. Sadly, it is not to be. Anyway, onto this movie. If I'm being honest, the movie isn't really that consistently funny. I don't wanna say it's painfully unfunny in some parts, but there's some jokes that definitely miss the mark quite badly. In fact, to me, the funniest moment of the entire film comes, literally, like 5 minutes or so before the film ends. There's this bit at the beginning where you see a shotgun lamp, it's exactly what it sounds like. So at the end of the film, when the bear breaks into the house and starts rampaging around, the owner of the campsite comes with the shotgun lamp. But before he's able to shoot the bear, he has to find a place to plug it in. It sounds silly, and it actually is, but it was actually really funny in execution. And that's really a shame that the best bit of the entire movie comes just before it actually ends. As far as John Hughes movies go, this is obviously not one of his best efforts. That's not to say it's a bad movie, because it's not. I liked the tone of the film, it's just got a very easygoing tone. It doesn't take itself too seriously. And, realistically speaking, with the plot being what it is, why the hell would they ever take themselves too seriously. This very much reminds me of Brother Nature. Or rather Brother Nature, obviously, took some inspiration from this movie. I don't think that can be denied. And not even necessarily the whole outdoors theme, because plenty of movies have been made that take place in the outdoors. I just mean more the thematic elements, where a guy, thinking he's gonna spend a relaxing week with his family (or in the case of Brother Nature, with his girlfriend's family) is given a surprise when his annoying in-laws invite themselves over to their lake house for the entire week. You've seen this movie before, and not even necessarily in a lake house, and you're likely to see it again. And you know the stuff they get into, they get into slapstick and sitcom-y antics that just adds to Chet's growing frustration with his brother-in-law, Roman, played by Dan Aykroyd. Though this movie isn't necessarily like Brother Nature, where it just builds up to a boiling point where Chet just loses his fucking mind and lashes out at Roman and his family. At the very least, this movie doesn't do that, which would have been the predictable thing to do. Even though I'm sure John Candy would have had a great blow-up at Aykroyd and it would have been entertaining as well. There's no real story to speak of honestly and, really, in this movie, that doesn't really even matter. The characters are likable, even if they have next to nothing to do in terms of actually developing their characters. This isn't The Breakfast Club, that's for sure. The film, really, even in its average state, is somewhat entertaining to watch regardless of the fact that it might not be the most consistent comedy out there. Tone has a lot to do with that, sure, but also nostalgia helps. Though, at least in my case, the nostalgia didn't keep me from seeing this movie as it was. The cast is good, no complaints there. John Candy and Dan Aykroyd have strong chemistry and they're really the driving force behind everything. There's a romantic subplot with Buck, but it's literally just the most basic, uninteresting romance you've ever seen. Buck meets the girl. They find each other cute. They become a couple by the second day they've known each other. It's really not very good. With that said, though, this was still an average movie. I can't say you should go out of your way to watch this, but if you're in the mood for something goofy, then this will be fine. It's not great, or even good, but it will keep your interest for 90 minutes.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Dec 23, 2013
    The more I think about The Great Outdoors, more and more of its poor qualities come to mind, while anything positive starts disappearing. The comedy scenes were fun enough to watch, even though not necessarily funny. The attempted dramatic scenes were pure junk, and I picked up a habit of just walking away when they began. The love story of the oldest son could have been ditched completely. John Candy not being the annoying one through me off, but he fit his role towards the end. The movie is 80% junk, the other 20% is semi- feel good moments-
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • Apr 23, 2013
    John Candy and Dan Aykroyd toughter in a John Hughes production? Dispite it's flaws... this chemistry always gonna be unforgetable, funny and very entertaining.
    Lucas M Super Reviewer
  • Jan 22, 2013
    Dan Aykroyd and John Candy deliver a ton of laughs in the John Hughes family comedy The Great Outdoors. When Roman crashes his brother-in-law's family vacation with one of his own hilarity ensues as the two family try to get along at a lake resort. The story is well writing and has a bit of nostalgia for the outdoors that gives the film a certain charm. Most of the comedy relies on slapstick humor, but there's also a good amount of satire as well. Still, the film is fairly tame and doesn't have a lot of ambition. Yet, despite some mundaneness, The Great Outdoors is a fun filling comedy that's quite entertaining.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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