We spend much of our lives trying to provide for our families. Often, we get so busy, that we miss warning signs of being overworked or stressed. Other times, we’re just so busy doing what we’re good at, that we overlook opportunities to be better than we actually are. Carl Reiner’s SUMMER RENTAL is a hysterical look at what happens when the two situations collide.
Air traffic controller Jack Chester, played by the ever-loveable John Candy, has two problems. First, he has an adorable family trying to be supportive in any way they can, but he doesn’t have time for them because of his job. Both have pushed him to his limit. When it finally catches up to him, he is forced into a vacation. He rents a house on the beach in Citrus Cove, FL where he runs into a public-beach access nightmare, a next door neighbor who likes to flaunt her bosoms at every chance (and husband with a fetish for power tools) and a local who thinks that he’s better than everyone else and has to prove his machismo.
Based on a screenplay by Jeremy Stevens (“Everybody Loves Raymond”) and Mark Reisman (“Wings”, “Fraiser”), this farce set in the fictional town of Citrus Cove, FL, is based on executive producer Bernie Brillstein’s real-life adventures on a vacation in Southern California. Candy is joined by Karen Austin, Kerri Green, Joey Lawrence, Rip Torn and Richard Crenna.
The story itself is not very strong. The way the movie flows, you can tell that Candy had a blast making the movie and Richard Crenna, who is a very reserved individual in his roles, had to break from that mold. He does “snark” so very well. Rip Torn really highlights his comedic talents and is a perfect foil for Candy. And, a number of supporting character actors, including John Larroquette, who was hot back then in “Night Court”, have a nice showing.
The highlight of this movie is in the cinematography and editing. Trying to capture scenes on the water, with moving ships, timed to comedic moments is difficult enough. Known for his action shots, director of photography Ric Waite really stepped up to the plate here. His expertise really shows in the final sailing regatta. Bud Molin, who had worked with Reiner previously on ALL OF ME, really had a knack for comedic timing, which served the situational comedy element. But he struggled with the action pieces toward the end of the movie. All in all, they were able to bring some cohesion to the story.
Alan Silvestri (ROMANCING THE STONE) brought his trademark horn and brass bravado to this movie, adding a welcome layer of lightheartedness. Jimmy Buffett’s “Turning Around” is featured toward the end of the movie and through the end credits, supporting the “teaching the underdog new tricks” theme of the story.
Although SUMMER RENTAL is fun and lighthearted, it doesn’t always work. John Candy, Rip Torn and Richard Crenna are a joy to watch on the screen. Carl Reiner brought his “A” game to this movie, but the story just doesn’t cut it. For a good time, it is Recommended.
Watch the trailer here:
On DVD and digital streaming platforms. Also on STARZ Encore On Demand.