Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a 1987 American comedy film written, produced and directed by John Hughes. It stars Steve Martin as Neal Page, a temperamental marketing executive, and John Candy as Del Griffith, a kindhearted, but irritating salesman. In spite of their differences, they share three days of adventures and mishaps trying to get Neal home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving Day dinner with his family.
Neal is advertising executive on a business trip in New York City, anxious to get back home to his family in Chicago before Thanksgiving, which is in two days’ time. After a late-running buisness meeting with a hesitant client, Neal struggles to hail a cab during rush hour. As he bribes a man to let him have a cab he has hailed, it is unintentionally taken by a third man. Neal arrives at JFK Airport just as his flight is delayed. While waiting, he meets the man who “stole” the cab, Del Griffith, a talkative man who sells shower curtain rings. To his annoyance and Del’s delight, Neal is then assigned a seat next to Del on the crowded flight to O’Hare.
Due to a blizzard in Chicago, their plane is diverted to Witchita, where they must stay overnigt. Neal is unable to book a room, but Del has successfully reserved one. Neal hesitantly accepts Del’s promise of a room if Neal pays for their cab ride to the motel. During check-in, Del mistakenly takes Neal’s credit card. Neal loses his temper over Del’s aggravating behavior and criticizes him. Del is hurt by Neal’s insults, but they calm down and awkwardly share the only bed. As they sleep, their cash is stolen by a robber.
The next day, with their plane trip still delayed, Neal buys them both train tickets to Chicago, but with seats in seperate cars. However, the train breaks down near Jefferson City, leaving it’s passgengers stranded. Neal feels sorry for Del struggling with his trunk, and they reunite, The ride on a crowded bus to St. Louis, where Del raises cash by selling curtain ring samples to passers-by. Neal offends Del at lunch snd the two part ways again.
At the St. Louis airport, Neal atempts to rent a car, but it is not there when he gets back to the lot. After a long and treacherous walk back to the terminal, Neal vents his anger in a profane rage at the rental agent, but all for nothing. He tries to book a taxi to Chicago, but impatiently criticizes the dispatcher, who punches him.By chance, Del arrives with his own rental car, and takes tired Neal with him. Many catastrophes happen to them and the rental car before they get to Chicago.
This film is equal parts laugh out loud funny and heartwarming. All the disasters the two go through are hilarious, but at the same time, you feel sorry for them and their bad luck. Martin and Candy are perfectly cast and do such a great job as the uptight career man and the easy going simple guy. Neal is definitely smarter than Del, but they end up realizing that smarts and money, are really not important when it comes to family and friendship. This is not your typical John Huges film, there is are no teenagers, no romance, just two funny men for 90 percent of the runtime. This is the actors in two of their very best roles. No other actors could play these characters better than them.
With such a simple plotline, you’d think this movie wouldn’t be very good, but it is outstanding. It is very entertaining and wildly funny. Some will see this film as just plain silly, and yes it is a bit silly, but not over the top. The two men, who are complete opposites, learn how to deal with each other, how to get along, and they eventually become friends, despite all they went through in just three days. I believe the worst thing about this movie is the awful musical score by the band King Crimson, it just didn’t fit at all. Huey Lewis & the News or Bryan Adams might have been a better choice, but that’s just my oppinion.
Martin and Candy aren’t the best actors, but they are two of the funniest people of all time. They can take such simple stories, and even if the film isn’t that great, they make it enjoyable. Planes probably would have turned out terrible without them. The two characters clash, but in such a way that makes this movie different than most comedies. it has hilarity and heart among the disasters of most of the runtime. You learn that sometimes you have to go through chaos in life and that it’s good to have someone to help you out along the way. This is one of, if not the best Thanksgiving and fall film(s) ever. 18+ 4.5/5