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Movie Review - Summer Rental with John Candy (1985)

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How I miss John Candy, for his self-effacing humor, his penchant for getting into scrapes, and his need to entertain.  He left us much too early.  Under Carl Reiner’s direction, John Candy is the perfect foil for those who cannot tolerate the clumsy, the meek, and the indecisive.


John Candy

                                                               John Candy - Wikimedia


“Summer Rental” is the ideal setting for John Candy to magnify the flaws of his character, Jack Chester.  Jack has worked for fourteen years as an air traffic controller and is good at his job.  As he parked his car in the company’s parking lot that morning, a driver pulled up so close to him that Jack found it almost impossible to get out of his own car, except to exit from the window.  A poor start to an unfortunate day.  Yes, he had suffered burn-out lately.  He was not able to locate a minor aircraft on his computerized reproduction of the airplanes under his watch.  His superior, hovering behind him, pointed to a fly on his screen which was hiding the errant ship.

A Family Vacation

Jack’s boss suggested that he take some time off, take his family on a vacation, and return revitalized and eager to work.  Jack reluctantly agreed and his wife Sandy (Karen Austin) happily packed for the couple and their three children, as well as their German Shepard dog, Archie, and they headed for Citrus Cove, Florida for a four-week stay.  They located their rental property at 415 Beach Road, a beautiful three-bedroom luxury accommodation right on the water.

The children wanted to go on the beach, which was so crowded that Jack stepped on one angry man’s hand, and cracked the large cooler he was carrying, which spilled water on another man’s blanket.  After spending several hours in a beach chair, watching his children play in the water, Jack had a severe sunburn which Karen cared for by covering Jack with Noxzema.


Carl Reiner

                                                              Director Carl Reiner                                                                                                                                        Wikimedia                                

Jack Gets Bumped in the Restaurant

After waiting in line for almost two hours at a luxurious seafood restaurant where they looked forward to a lobster dinner, they were finally first in line.  A prominent local personage, Al Pellet (Richard Crenna), burst in and he and his party were ushered to the table for five which the Chesters should have been given.  Not only that, Pellet’s table snatched up the last five lobsters in the tank. 

Jack was furious, and after insulting Al Pellet and the management, the Chesters left the restaurant and settled for The Barnacle down the street which was more of a fast-food restaurant.

The Wrong Address

After settling in for the night, Jack was awakened by noises at the front door.  An enraged couple were on the doorstep, claiming that the cottage belonged to them.  Jack had the receipt for his rental which he showed them.  The man said his name was Dan Gardner, and the address of the house was 415 Beach Lane, not 415 Beach Road.  The Chesters scrambled to get their belongings together to leave.  Jack had to return to retrieve his Noxzema and their youngest daughter, both of which had been left behind.



                                                                 Regatta - Wikimedia

A Real Come-Down

Their correct rental cottage was not quite as nice, although it was on the water.  Noisy repairs were happening next door, the flies were excessive, and the neighbors were nosy.  The public beach access came right through their yard, which meant that noisy walkers passed by every few minutes.  Jack’s teen-aged daughter Jennifer (Kerri Green) quickly became acquainted with the lifeguards who lived on one side of their cottage.

Jack Loves to Sail

Jack had once had a sailboat and decided to rent a boat to test his rusty skills.  He noticed an ad stating that the Citrus Grove Regatta was coming up, which intrigued him.  Jack also learned that Al Pellet, the man who bumped him from first place in line at the Seafood Restaurant, was favored to win since he had won the Regatta for the past fourteen years with his magnificent sailboat, The Incisor.


Rip Torn

                                                                 Rip Torn - Wikimedia

Jack Takes Sailing Lessons

Jack rented a decrepit sailboat from a man named Scully (Rip Torn) who also owned The Barnacle Restaurant.  Scully gave a free sailboat lesson to each renter.  Jack and Scully became good friends, and Jack spent most of his time with Scully, while Sandy supervised their children.  While sailing with Scully one day, Jack took a nasty turn and rammed right into The Incisor, infuriating Al Pellet, who claimed that, as the larger ship, he had the right of way.

The next day it rained and Sandy took the children to the movies while Jack stayed home watching television and eating popcorn.  He had to retrieve his dog Archie’s bone from the front porch, and Archie closed and locked the door on him, eating his popcorn.  At breakfast next morning, Jack had a splint covering his leg and he was on crutches, evidently from his confrontation with Archie who had closed the door on his leg.

The Cottage Has a New Owner

Jack learned by phone that the owner of their cottage passed away, and Jack was asked to come to the funeral home to pay his bill.  At the funeral home, he learned that Al Pellet had purchased the rental property from the deceased, and thus became the Chesters’ landlord for four weeks.  He refused to take Jack’s balance of $1000 for their last two weeks, and demanded that they leave at the end of the first two weeks.  Jack told Al Pellet that he was an entrant to the Regatta and planned to win the race.  He bet Al $1000 that he would beat him.  If Jack won the race, the Chesters would be allowed to stay for the remaining two weeks; if Al won the race, they would have to leave after two weeks.  Al took the bet, laughing.

When he got back to the cottage, Jack found that trespassers had invaded his house, using the bathroom, and taking whatever food and drink was there.  He ordered them out.  One man, watching the Smurfs cartoon, refused to leave.  Jack was furious and started to beat up on the man, who finally left.

Jack Gets a Boat for the Regatta

Scully had an old boat which was named The Barnacle.  It needed a lot of work, but Jack needed the boat to race against Al Pellet.  Sandy and the three children helped Jack to paint the boat, scrape the barnacles off the bottom, and to make the boat water-safe.  They desperately needed a new sail which could not be found in that area.  A friend of Scully’s named Angus said he would visit some boat supply retailers to find the proper sail.  He was coming up empty-handed.  On the morning of the race, Ang pulled into the pier with the sail on his truck, and the Barnacle crew, which included Sandy and the children, cheered and got to work on the boat.                                                 


Richard Crenna

                                                                 Richard Crenna                                                                                                                                               Wikimedia

The Barnacle Overtakes the Incisor

When the race began, the Barnacle was lagging far behind the other sailboats.  It was discovered that food was left in the refrigerator even though Scully had ordered that all food should be taken out to lighten the weight.  The crew quickly unloaded all the food overboard, and The Barnacle started to overtake the other boats.

You can imagine the ending.  John Candy, in spite of his character’s flaws, always ended up on top.  “Summer Rental” is no exception.  Treat yourself to this fun film starring an expert in feel-good movies, the irrepressible John Candy.  

John Candy

John Candy died at the age of 43 in 1994.  He had always had a problem with his weight and he was a heavy smoker.  He had just finished his last film entitled “Wagons East” while on location in Mexico.  He died of a heart attack in his sleep.  He left behind his wife, Rosemary, and two children, and millions of fans.

John made his first film, “Splash” in 1984, followed by several hits, including “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles,” and “Uncle Buck.”  He made forty-five films in a period of twenty-two years, to the delight of his many fans.



Laughing on the Outside: The Life of John Candy
Amazon Price: Buy Now
(price as of Feb 9, 2016)


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  1. "John Candy." bio.. 9/02/2016. 9/02/2016 <Web >

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