After sharing the same motel bed, Neal (Steve Martin) wakes up to find Del (John Candy) spooning with him.
Were it not for its profanity-laden opening scenes, John Hughes’ Planes, Trains and Automobiles might have been suitable family entertainment: certainly it’s heaps less violent and mean-spirited than Hughes’ Home Alone. En route to Chicago to spend Thanksgiving with his family, easily annoyed businessman Neal Page (Steve Martin) finds his first-class plane ticket has been demoted to coach, and he must share his flight with obnoxious salesman Del Griffith (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, Neal is compelled to accept Del’s invitation to share his accommodations in a cheapo-sleazo motel. Driven to distraction by Del’s annoying personal habits, the ungrateful Neal lets forth with a stream of verbal abuse. That’s when Del delivers the anticipated (but always welcome) “I don’t judge, why should you?”-type speech so common to John Hughes flicks. The shamefaced Neal tries to make up to Del, 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. We know from the outset that the oil-and-water Neal and Del will be bosom companions by the end of Planes, Trains and Automobiles, but it’s still a fun ride. The best bit: a half-asleep Del thinking that he’s got his hand tucked between two pillows — until his bedmate, Neal, bellows “Those aren’t pillows!”
TM & © Paramount (1987)
Cast: John Candy, Steve Martin
Director: John Hughes
Producers: Bill Brown, Michael Chinich, John Hughes, Neil A. Machlis
Screenwriter: John Hughes