Family vacations can be a great way to get away from the problems of daily life, but Chet Ripley (John Candy) can't really escape his issues, even in "The Great Outdoors." Ripley takes his family to the Wisconsin resort where he and his wife spent their honeymoon years ago. Despite promises from the owners that their cabin has been remodeled, Chet and his wife have to clean up all the rotting fish left behind by the previous tenants.
To make matters worse, Chet's obnoxious brother-in-law Roman (Dan Aykroyd) shows up unexpectedly with his family. A real braggart, Roman has to do everything bigger and better than anyone else, springing for lobster tails while Chet can only afford hot dogs. Even when Chet wants to take a peaceful cruise on the lake with his kids, Roman bullies him into renting a powerful jet boat.
Throughout "The Great Outdoors," John Candy and Dan Aykroyd match wits with each other, trying to see who is going to give in first. Although he played several goofy characters during the 1980's, Candy is a real family man here, hoping to give his kids a real outdoors vacation. As the villain, Aykroyd's character would rather tear down the trees and build condominiums, using the rest of the resort as a toxic waste dump.
Known for directing several popular teen movies, John Hughes said that he wrote the script for "The Great Outdoors" based on his memories of his own childhood family vacations. One has to wonder if Hughes' father had to eat the "Ole 96er," the enormous 96-ounce steak that Roman bullies Chet into eating at a local restaurant.
Though "The Great Outdoors" is supposed to be set in Northern Wisconsin, this outdoors comedy was filmed at the Pines Resort in Bass Lake, California. Many film and commercial directors have used Pines Resort as a background because of its natural beauty.
At those times when work keeps you close to home, watch this movie to get a real taste of "The Great Outdoors."