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Uncle Buck Review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 3.0

    out of 100

    Mixed or average reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 38

    out of 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    Uncle Buck attempts to tell a heart-warming story through a series of uncomfortable and unpleasant scenes; it's a tug-of-war between its ambitions and its methods.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    Los Angeles Times

    Uncle Buck has a medium-level Hughes script, only about half as good as "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," about 50 times as good as "The Great Outdoors."

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  • 50

    out of 100


    John Hughes unsuccessfully tries to mix a serious generation gap message between the belly laughs in Uncle Buck, a warm-weather John Candy vehicle.

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  • 50

    out of 100

    USA Today Mike Clark

    A John Hughes movie is 15 minutes of material stretched into a 90-minute feature by a rec-room rack from the Karloff estate; the only question is whether the 15 have their comic compensations. Uncle Buck has a few, though they're typically compromised by the cut-and-paste nature of the rest. [16 Aug 1989, p.4D]

  • 50

    out of 100

    The New York Times Vincent Canby

    Sometimes funny and, in the way of small-screen entertainment, so perfectly predictable that one could mail in the laughs.

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  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Dave Kehr

    As long as Hughes is content to provide a simple, flexible format for Candy, Uncle Buck is very entertaining. Hughes seems to have relaxed his usual controlling, compulsively tidy style, taking full advantage of the improvisational talents of his star.

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For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Pause for kids 11 & under

The Candy man can make this iffy movie taste good.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the swearing in this movie is pretty intense for a PG film, and there is attempted teen sex (nothing explicitly shown, but no doubt what's going on) and a mistaken belief that adult sex has taken place. Buck pretends to be psychotic, capable of torture-murder and mutilation with power tools, as he intimidates a grubby boy trying to get intimate with his niece. Buck also indulges in drinking, smoking, and gambling.

  • Families can talk about the conflicts between the various characters. Do you think Buck could have handled bad-girl Tia in a more productive way? Do you believe the way the story comes out? Has Buck himself grown up a little by the end? What do you think will happen between him and Chanice?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Buck's oddball ways and plain-spoken style of dealing with things supposedly mends a bad family rift here. Still, he's a drinker, glutton, smoker, and gambler and chronically jobless, even though he shows enough responsibility to protect his troubled niece. Folks on the Russell's (rich) side of town come across as intrinsically chilly and nasty; Buck's (poor) side of town is more down to earth and homey.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: "Comedic" stuff, as Buck punches out a drunk and threatens his niece's unwanted boyfriend with kidnapping and torture-dismemberment.

  • sex false3

    Sex: When Buck swears and wrestles with an uncooperative washing machine, an eavesdropper thinks he's having rough sex. Talk of teen pregnancy in the case of Tia and her boyfriend, who clearly wants to go all the way with her.

  • language false3

    Language: Pretty intense for a PG, with repeated variations on "s--t" and "goddamn," and "pissant." Both children and adults talk like that.

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Food products, auto parts brands are prominent, as is oldies music.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Teen and adult drinking; a hostile, drunken party clown, and Buck himself getting plastered. Buck brags about quitting.