Monday, May 30, 2016

Dutch (1991)

Synopsis: John Hughes writes and produces a heartwarming tale of two antagonistic men who bond during a series of misadventures as they race across the American heartland to make it back to Chicago for Thanksgiving. Wait – wasn’t that the Synopsis for Planes, Trains and Automobiles?!?! 1991

Blurb From the VHS Jacket: “A hilarious battle of wills between a working class guy and an upper-class kid!” 

What Did I Learn?: 1) Nothing burps better than bacon. 2) You can’t beat a Ford for good brakes. 3) Working class is not bad – a solid economy needs hand workers. 4) Fireworks are illegal in Illinois. 

Really?: 1) I realize Doyle (Ethan Randall) is a snobbish, obnoxious, and generally unpleasant human being, but he’s also a kid. Isn’t there something seriously wrong with a movie when you want to see a grown man knock the crap out of somebody much smaller? 2) Take a drink every time Dutch (Ed O’Neill) is physically abused. 3) Wait – wouldn’t Dutch face jail time, or a lawsuit, or some sort of consequences for punching Reed in the forehead? 

Rating: I vaguely remember liking Dutch when I saw it on the big screen in 1991, so I was hoping for a pleasant evening of good-natured John Hughes comedy. Sadly, Dutch was NOT one of Hughes’ better films. O’Neill does his best with the occasionally-funny script, but the whole thing seemed a little too derivative (see: “Synopsis”), and far too mean-spirited (See: “Really?”) for my taste, and I could have done without the heavy-handed class warfare angle. Jeez, didn’t Hughes know any decent rich people? 6/10 stars.

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