Picks and Pans Review: The Great Outdoors

updated 07/04/1988 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/04/1988 01:00AM

Dan Aykroyd has certainly proved himself as a writer (Ghostbusters, Trading Places) and performer (ditto). Of late, though, the multitalented Canadian seems more than willing to fritter away his gifts on such tripe as Spies Like Us and The Couch Trip. With Outdoors, Aykroyd touches bottom. He's a loudmouth who carts off his wife and kids to a tacky resort to horn in on the family vacation of his brother-in-law John Candy. Admittedly, SNL often indulged in crude humor. But here screenwriter John (Planes, Trains and Automobiles) Hughes indulges only in crude. In a self-cannibalizing way, the movie is Neighbors Meet Summer Rental. What passes for humor is mostly Aykroyd humiliating the overweight Candy, whose old SCTV has a Hollywood alumni branch of its own. Aykroyd sneaks up with a video camera just as Candy is unhooking the bra of wife Stephanie Faracy. He guffaws as Candy wobbles on water skis. He roars as Candy gorges on a 96-ounce steak. Aykroyd, whose inspired barbs once pierced society's pretensions, has been reduced to making a movie that finds fun in fat jokes, children talking dirty and a bear getting the hair blown off its butt with a shotgun. The sight prompts many reactions. Laughter is not one of them. (PG)

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