ByJames McDonald, writer at
James is a Movie Critic and Celebrity Interviewer with over 30 years of experience as an Award-Winning Filmmaker.
James McDonald

An unreliable man-child takes care of his brother’s kids. A TV adaptation of the 1989 comedy which starred John Candy.

“Uncle Buck” is probably my favorite John Candy movie. Granted, the comic genius appeared in a lot of classics such as “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Spaceballs,” and “Planes, Trains & Automobiles,” to name but a few but “Uncle Buck” permitted the larger-than-life funnyman to flex his acting abilities a lot more than any of his previous films, allowing him the opportunity to prove that he was more than capable of just making us laugh.

While there was a short-lived “Uncle Buck” TV show back in 1990, which only ran for one season, this updated version, starring actor/comedian Mike Epps in the titular role, appears to be more promising. The pilot episode pretty much condenses all of the events from the 1989 movie which leaves the rest of the season wide open for new plotlines and character introductions.

Mike Epps plays Buck Russell, an unpredictable and irresponsible man who has never grown up. Instead of looking for a job, he spends his days in the local bar, drinking beer and lying to his girlfriend about his daily chores. When she gives him an ultimatum, either work for her father or leave her and his rent-free condo, he must make a decision. Luckily for him though, his brother Will (James Lesure) calls at the last minute and asks him to come babysit his three boisterous kids for the weekend while he and his wife Cindy (Nia Long) are out of town on business. Naturally, knowing Buck and his lifestyle, Cindy is not keen on the idea but with nobody else they can call on at such short notice, against her better judgment, she reluctantly agrees.

In typical fashion, chaos ensues once they leave town but by the end of the episode, Buck has redeemed himself, turned the kids from disorderly to restrained and taught them some valuable life lessons, and swayed Cindy into letting him live with the family. The show could go either way, in its favor, it has Mike Epps, James Lesure, and Nia Long, each of them superior comic actors who have appeared in an abundance of entertaining movies and TV shows over the years and between them all, they more than hold the threadbare premise together.

While the basis of the 1989 movie is entirely exhausted by the end of the pilot episode, it will be interesting to see if the actors and writers will be able to keep the storyline going throughout a full season. Something tells me that after one season, “Uncle Buck” will more than likely fizzle out but this being Hollywood, and totally unpredictable, they might just have a winner on their hands.

“Uncle Buck” premieres on ABC in 2016

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