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The Great Outdoors

Five years after Clark Griswold and his clan hit the road in "National Lampoon's Vacation", John Candy and Dan Aykroyd headed for the woods and THE GREAT OUTDOORS.

While its nowhere near as funny as Chevy Chase and his clan's adventures, there are some big laughs to be had this time out.

Candy is typical dad Roman Craig, excited to take his family to the same Wisconsin camp that he and his parents went to in his childhood. WIfe Connie (Stephanie Faracy of "Sideways") son Buck and daughter are less enthusiastic, but game.

While the camp is aging poorly, things are fine until a surprise guest arrives for the week. With family in tow, brother-in-law Roman (Aykroyd) arrives in full rich, preppy mode, sporting every 80's cliche and flaunting his cash.

Roman's sister Kate is played by Annette Bening in her film debut, dragging along two twin girls that are way too similar to those twin horrors in a blue dresses from "The Shining".

Screenwriter John Hughes seems to be using cast off ideas from his better screenplays for "The Breakfast Club" and "Planes Trains and Automobiles" and his original script for "Vacation", but he cooks up a few great scenes that have become comedy classics for our family.

Roman's water skiing talents behind Roman's massive power boat ("That's way too much boat for this lake...") is hilarious, as is his battle to eat a side of beef in one sitting to win a t-shirt.

Hughes sneaks in some good lines, "Why do Chet's kids look at him like he's Zeus and my kids look at me like I'm a rack of lawn tools at Sears?"

But his secondary story lines are pretty weak. Buck's summer romance with a local girl at the A&W is pretty lame, perfectly feathered 80's hair not withstanding.

Candy and Aykroyd do everything they can to generate laughs and play off each other well. The story is just too predictable to rise to the best of Aykroyd, Candy or Hughes best work.

It's a quick, comfortable 90 minutes that's best served anytime Aykroyd & Candy are on screen, earning a C+.

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