Uncle Buck

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Uncle Buck TV Poster Image
Funny reboot of classic movie has edgy jokes, cute kids.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Major themes include family, loyalty, and responsibility, though there's an ongoing air of dysfunction.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The Russells are a modern family that subtly challenges stereotypical depictions of African-American characters on TV, though Buck's role as the family "hustler" is more of a throwback. Alexis and Will work as equal partners; Tia is a smart girl who loves science. They have their problems but eventually work through them together.


Sexual innuendo between characters, but no real action on-screen; jokes about teen pregnancy, sexting, and the like.


Language includes audible words such as "hell," "ass," and "damn" (and several instances where the word "f--k," though cut off, is strongly suggested), plus body-part slang such as "ding-dong."


Characters mention popular brands such as Instagram.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking (both in a bar and at a party with underage drinking); jokes about illegal drugs such as cocaine.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Uncle Buck is an adaptation of the classic John Hughes comedy of the same name but with a refreshing twist: This reboot has an all-African-American cast and a premise that pushes back against stereotypes. The jokes are also much edgier than those in the 1989 film, so expect to hear characters making light of teen pregnancy, a high schooler's penis size, and giving a kid cocaine, in addition to using "f--k" with clever editing that cuts the end off. There's some social drinking, too, thanks to Buck's habit of hanging out in bars, and brief mention of popular brand names.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byjenniferr12 July 14, 2016


My family and I really liked the show. Allow uncle buck to finish his first season!!!
Parent Written bymontyw June 28, 2016

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

When the nanny quits on the eve of their overlapping business trips, busy professionals Alexis (Nia Long) and Will Russell (James Lesure) find themselves scrambling for someone -- anyone -- to watch their kids Tia (Iman Benson), Miles (Sayeed Shahidi), and Maizy (Aalyrah Caldwell) on such short notice. But when "anyone" turns out to be the kids' slippery UNCLE BUCK (Mike Epps), Alexis is more than a little skeptical that he can pull it off. After all, he can barely take care of himself.

Is it any good?

The fact that Mike Epps' take on the titular Buck bears little resemblance to John Candy's classic character might be problematic for John Hughes purists. But most viewers probably won't care. After all, Uncle Buck doesn't have quite the same cachet as, say, Hughes' Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, or Pretty in Pink; though it's a cult classic, not too many kids will be familiar with the deadbeat relative. (Even fewer will have seen the short-lived 1990s sitcom of the same name starring comedian Kevin Meaney -- and that's a good thing.)

From the backfiring car and the giant pancakes to the kids poking their sleeping uncle with a stick, it's great to see some of the movie's classic gags make it into this unapologetically modern reboot. But that's where the similarities end. In fact, the pilot nixes any hopes for nostalgia by breezing through the entire film plot in under 30 minutes, clearing the way for these updated Russells to make Uncle Buck all their own. And they do with admirable finesse, though the series' pointed efforts to be edgy (with child actors delivering dialogue such as, "Mom! A prostitute taught me to twerk!") put it squarely into older-teen territory.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Uncle Buck's take on modern families and the challenges they face. How realistic are the characters and the problems that pop up in their lives? Can you relate to them, and how do they rate as role models?

  • How does Uncle Buck compare to the classic 1980s comedy that inspired it? What changes were made to the original in terms of plot, characters, and tone, and why? (And, more importantly, does it work?)

  • Uncle Buck is a show about a family, but does that make it a "family show"? Is the comedy too edgy for kids, or could some age groups handle it better than others? In terms of age range, who's the target audience?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love sitcoms

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