On the day before Thanksgiving, homeward-bound Neal Page (Steve Martin) meets “annoying blabbermouth” Del Griffin (John Candy) and can’t shake him. Circumstances — cancellations, bad weather, absurd circumstance — force them into a road trip. Martin is the middle class straight man, Candy the goofy lunatic and slob (he sells shower rings).
On paper, enjoying this movie would seem to depend on liking the dapper Martin and the overweight Candy, two of the smarter, funnier men of their comedic generation. Not true. Writer-director John Hughes (“Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”) hits all the right John Simon notes, making the movie an Odd Couple spin-off — two sweet bumbling men who meet by chance but come into friendship because they’re not capable of deep dislike. This remains among the most compassionate movies of the grubby 1980s and one Candy’s finest performances. Arguably the finest Canadian comic of his time, Candy died in 1994 at age 43.