Plot: What’s it about?
More likely than not, Summer Rental is a movie that you’ve seen more on cable than you ever remember seeing at the movie theater. John Candy plays his stereotypical self, except this time with a family. Candy is an Air Traffic Controller in Atlanta and needs a break. While stressing out at a job, he is forced to take a vacation, so he and the whole crew head out to Florida for a few weeks in the Summer. Natually, the vaction is plagued from start to finish with obstacles, the first of which is the house they rent. Jack Chester (Candy) has been told that a house has been secured for them, and upon their arrival they find a magnificent estate. The whole family thinks “Not bad…”, but as luck would have it, it’s the same address on a different road. So now they come to the real house, and it leaves a lot to be desired. While it is located on a beach, it seems to be the main pathway to the public beach. Jack also manages to get sunburned on the very first day at the beach and makes friends with the neighbors. Ed (Carmine Caridi) and his wife, Vicki (Lois Hamilton) are nice, but Ed seems to be working with power tools all day and Vicki just got a “boob job” and seems to want everyone’s opinion on how they look and feel. No comment…
Now all of this if fine and good, but the real meat of Summer Rental comes when local sailing phenom, Al Pellet (Richard Crenna) is introduced. Al is sick of all the tourists who come to his town every Summer and walks around like he owns the place (some of it, he does). His boat, the Incisor, is the local regatta champion for seven straght years, and as it turns out…Al is now the landlord for Jack and his family. Jack has befriended a local “pirate” by the name of Scully (Rip Torn) whose restaurant, The Barnacle, is slowly sinking off into the sea. Jack has been taking sailing lessons from Scully and as luck would have it, it all comes down to a sailing match to finish out the Summer. Sort of a “Caddyshack” without the memorable characters, plot or central theme. Carl Reiner, who has directed his share of comedies, had a bit of a dud here, but Summer Rental isn’t as bad as it would seem. Sailing fans are treated to some good boating shots and would you believe that a few members of the cast went on to bigger and better roles? Young Bobby Chester is none other than Joey Lawrence (whoa!) and Jennifer Chester went onto a role in “The Goonies” (she was Troy’s girlfriend). Even a cameo by John Laroquette adds a little spice to the entire story. It’s hard to call Summer Rental a throwback to the 80’s brand comedies, because it was made in the mid 80’s. All in all, it’s not that bad. Given the brevity of this review, it’s clear to say that Summer Rental doesn’t make you think too hard when it comes to plot. Enjoyable, but only sporting a trailer…you’ll have to really like the movie to purchase it.
Video: How does it look?
Even with the most obscure of titles, Paramount stands by their commitment of giving them new 16:9 transfers. Summer Rental doesn’t look that bad, but it doesn’t look that good either. The whole picture looks very soft, kind of a like “dream sequences” from other movies. Parts look vivid and bright, but the level of artifacting leaves a lot to be desired. While the 1.85:1 ratio does have it’s good spots, the transfer, I think, could have looked a lot better. Still, it’s nice to see a film of this nature given the treatment, as true fans of the movie will find that it’s never looked better.
Audio: How does it sound?
There will be no Dolby Digital 5.1 remaster of this movie, as it’s presented in it’s original mono soundtrack. There’s not a whole lot to say, the dialogue is clean for the most part and the repetitive score (that sounds like a coral island band) gets in your head and stays long after the movie is over. The movie is over 15 years old, so some parts tend to be a bit “hissy”, but overall it serves it’s purpose.
Supplements: What are the extras?
Nothing more than a trailer presented in anamorphic widescreen here.