A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
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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?