Planes, Trains and Automobiles Movie Review Summary

Actors: John Candy, Steve Martin, Laila Robins

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Planes, Trains and Automobiles

Were it not for the profanity-laden opening scenes, John Hughes' Planes, Trains and Automobiles might have been suitable family entertainment: certainly it's heaps less violent and mean than Hughes' Home Alone. En route to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family, easily annoyed businessman Steve Martin finds his first-class plane ticket has been demoted to coach, and he must share his flight with obnoxious salesman John Candy. A sudden snowstorm in Chicago forces the plane to land in Wichita. Unable to find a room in any of the four-star hotels, Martin is compelled to accept Candy's invitation to share his accommodations in a cheapo-sleazo motel. Driven to distraction by Candy's annoying personal habits, the ungrateful Martin lets forth with a stream of verbal abuse. That's when Candy tells Martin to stop judging him. The shamefaced Martin tries to make up to Candy, but there's a bumpy time ahead as the mismatched pair make their way back to Chicago, first in a balky train, then by way of a refrigerator truck. From the outset that the oil-and-water Martin and Candy will be bosom companions by the end of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
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The review of this Movie prepared by Tanya McKnight

Frustration is the key word in the 1987 movie, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles. It is the frustration that Neal Paige, played by Steve Martin, feels as this family man and advertising agent leaves New York aboard a jet that is bound for home Chicago, but ends in Omaha because of a snow storm. Martin, who meets Del Griffith (a shower curtain ring traveling salesman) aboard the flight, tries to get home in time for Thanksgiving. Accompanied by Griffith, Paige resorts to traveling by train, by bus and by automobile, before finally making it back while hitchhiking in the refrigerated section of a meat semi tractor trailer.

During the film, Paige and Griffith find themselves in one mini-misadventure after another, while racing the clock to return to Chicago. During the journey, their two very different personalities conflict and the tension between them mounts.

Comedy highlights include the two men sharing room in a motel, where their money is stolen and a next day freezing ride in the back of a pickup truck driven by “Owen,” (a refuge from the movie Deliverance) to the train station, forty miles away. Another funny part of the saga is the rental of a car in Kansas City, the fire that consumes it enroute to Chicago, and Neil and Del's 2nd night of sharing a motel room, during which they come together as friends and realize that the frustration and “pain” they have felt on the trip is really humorous, not tragic.

Needless to say, both men arrive in Chicago in time for Thanksgiving and this friendship bond manifests itself in a heart-warming ending. Many times, in movie comedies, the end never comes together and seems to be contrived only so the film can be finished.
The review of this Movie prepared by Patrick Cunningham

Martin is an uptight businessman trying to get home from New York for the holidays. But one thing after another gets in his way--most of it having to do with Candy, a boorish but well-meaning boob who takes a liking to him. Together they travel all over the map; no matter how hard Martin tries to shake him, he can't. It starts out with Neal (Steve Martin) getting out of a meeting late in New York during rush hour he runs to catch a cab for the airport so he can spend Thanksgiving with his family. He has two days to get there. He isn't counting on obstacles like Del (John Candy). While Neal is giving money to a lawyer to buy him out of taking a cab in front of him, Del loads his trunk in it and takes off. They keep meeting up and Del does everything he can to get Neal home to his family. They must take a Plane, Pickup Truck, Train, Bus, Rental Car, Semi, and the El to make it to Neal's Chicago Home with a detour to Kansas City.
The review of this Movie prepared by Deanna

When advertising executive Neil Page (Steve Martin) rushes out of the office with plans to catch an early flight home for Thanksgiving, he doesn't expect a fateful meeting with fellow traveler Dell Griffiths (John Candy) that leads to a series of travel disasters including: a stolen cab, a re-routed plane, a useless train and a rental car from hell! As Neil struggles to reach Chicago by Thanksgiving day, Dell unassumingly provides irritating, disgusting and ultimately charming companionship that fuels Neil's innermost frustrations.
The review of this Movie prepared by Cheryl Scott

In this hil-aaa-rious picture, Steve Martin and John Candy play a thin guy and a fat guy (see if you can guess which is which) who find themselves en route from New York to Chicago on a busy Thanksgiving weekend. Fat guy, can't shut up, can't do anything right, thin guy is a cynical professional who just wants to get home without having his head talked off 'by some great chowderhead who doesn't know when to keep his big trap shut'. Plenty of scope for some amusing situations and a bit of sentimental buddy stuff thrown in for good measure.
The review of this Movie prepared by Dave Kernick

Only the worst of circumstances throws these two individuals together in one of the most horrible storms of the decade.
Neal Page (Steve Martin) and Del Griffith (shower curtain ring salesman)banter back and forth from one state to another while trying to reach their families for Thanksgiving.

This is one of the funniest movies these two comedians ever appeared in; together or not. Its' a sad note to think that we'll never appreciate John Candy's humor, but enjoy it for now, in this hillarious romp that takes you on planes, trains and auto.................
The review of this Movie prepared by Dorothy Renshaw

This 1987 John Hughes comedy is one of his least syrupy, partly because it's about grownups, not teens, and partly because of Steve Martin's and John Candy's manic performances. Neal Page (Martin) is a workaholic business executive who is rushing home to Chicago from New York to be with his family at Thanksgiving. Circumstances throw him together with talkative, obnoxious, but well-meaning shower ring salesman Del Griffith (Candy) as their flight is canceled, a train breaks down, a rental car goes up in flames, and EVERYTHING conspires against Page getting home on time. Watch for Kevin Bacon's quick cameo as a fellow who steals Martin's taxi, and Michael McKean as a dour state trooper. A wonderfully hilarious movie with heart.
The review of this Movie prepared by David Loftus

Script Analysis of Planes, Trains and Automobiles

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Plot & Themes

Time/era of movie:    -   1980's-1999 Road trip    -   Yes

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   business executive Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Northeast    -   Midwest Misc setting    -   moving train

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   no torture/death Any profanity?    -   Some foul language

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