The Russell family has recently moved from Indianapolis to suburban Chicago. Tia Russell (played by Jean Louisa Kelly), their fifteen year old daughter, is angry with her parents about being uprooted from her school and friends in Indianapolis and her behavior is that of a stereotypical teenage brat.
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The movie starts off with a late night phone call from Indianapolis informing the Russells that Cindy Russell's father has just had a heart attack and urging her and Bob to come quickly. Unfortunately, the only person they can find to watch the children in their absence is Bob's younger brother, Buck (played by John Candy).
Cindy Russell (played by Elaine Bromka) dislikes Buck, for good reason, because he is an immature thirty something that lives in a slovenly apartment, parties a lot and makes his living doing odd jobs and gambling. Buck is the exact opposite of his hard working, upper middle class, suburban brother and sister-in-law.
Good natured Buck, who is well liked in his own circle of losers, is oblivious to his sister-in-law's dislike of him and readily agrees to watch the children.
The situation turns out to be a needed growing experience for both Buck and his niece, Tia. Buck's casual approach to life and his street smarts provide a nice antidote to the family's uptight suburban lifestyle while the responsibility and stability of suburban life provide Buck with the environment that gives him the incentive to finally grow up.
Buck's bungling attempts to cook, clean, do the wash, drive the children to school and generally be a good suburban parent are hilarious. But his heart is in the right place and he does rise to the occasion. Probably having been a difficult teenager himself, he quickly sees through Tia's shell and sees that she is getting in over her head with the fast crowd at school and especially the boy she has been dating. His deft handling of Tia brings down the wall between her and her family as well as between her and Buck. The whole experience also forces Buck to reevaluate his relationship with Chanice Kobolowski (played by Amy Madigan) whom he has been dating for eight years and all the while avoiding any long term commitment.
The review of this Movie prepared by Chuck Nugent