Uncle Buck Cancelled

Uncle Buck: Was the ABC Remake as Bad as You Feared?

To paraphrase a line in Tuesday’s premiere of Uncle Buck, there’s feeling like a winner, and then there’s being a winner. ABC’s newest sitcom doesn’t exactly feel like either.

The Mike Epps-led adaptation of the beloved John Hughes film turns its eponymous character into a far more creepy, far less likable caretaker for the Russell children, who put their trust in the degenerate grifter all too soon for the sake of… let’s call it comedy.

The pilot is very much a recreation of the film, which finds Buck coming to niece Tia’s (newcomer Iman Benson) rescue when a boy she’s been sexting with attempts to take their relationship to the next level. And if sexting doesn’t scream “contemporary remake!,” Buck takes his younger nephew Miles (Switched at Births Sayeed Shahidi) and niece Maizy (The Fosters‘ Aalyrah Caldwell) to a bar where the latter befriends a prostitute and learns how to twerk.

Will (Las Vegas‘ James Lesure) and Alexis (House of Lies‘ Nia Long) are the parents dumb enough to leave their three kids behind with Buck, who we first meet as his relationship with fiancée Jackie (guest star Regina Hall) begins to crumble. He agrees to take care of the kids for the weekend to avoid dinner with her father, but she eventually catches up with him at the bar (following the aforementioned twerking lesson) and rightfully dumps his behind.

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Despite his many, many faults, Alexis agrees to let Buck stay with them and be their live-in “manny” after he appears to have been a good influence on Tia — a niece he had no trouble calling a “b-i-t-c-h” in front of Miles and Maizy just minutes earlier. Little does Alexis know that her brother-in-law caught her daughter mid-sext, and was about to blackmail the underaged boy she was sexting with by breaking into his house and taking a picture of him as he steps out of the shower. (How is this okay!?)

Episode 2 is slightly better, if only because it doesn’t contain any jokes in which the remnants of a powdered donut are mistaken for Miles using cocaine. (There is a sight gag involving a pot dispensary, though, so not to worry if you rely on family comedies for drug humor.) “L’il’ Scarface” finds Buck and Will attempting to cheat their way into winning a girl scout cookie sales competition for Maizy, while overprotective mom Alexis attempts to play by the rules, and in turn inadvertently assaults a paraplegic woman at the grocery store. Meanwhile, Tia and Miles’ B-story takes a page out of the family sitcom handbook and finds them attempting to patch a hole in the wall without their parents finding out. They almost get away with it by plastering a big photo of Barack Obama over it, but Buck accidentally falls through the wall from Maizy’s room and destroys the cover-up.

Uncle Buck certainly has a talented enough cast, and a charming lead in Survivors Remorse alum Epps, but there’s only so much the actors can do to overcome the subpar writing. Also, if you’re gonna do a remake, at least attempt to recreate the best part of the last remake:

OK, it’s your turn: What did you think of Uncle Buck? Grade the back-to-back episode premiere via our poll below, then hit the comments to back up your choice!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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20 Comments
  1. Jason says:

    The kids are super cute, but Mike Epps just drags the show down. He acts the same way in all of his films becasue he doesnt have much range.

  2. Yolo says:

    Thought it was hilarious. Too bad it’s on a network like ABC where it won’t be appreciated.

  3. Kevin K says:

    I give it an F. As bad as it is right now, the latest Uncle Buck won’t last that long.

  4. :-) says:

    It definitely needs work. It had some good moments. I agree it’s more the writing the acting that’s holding it back. there were some parts that I iPhone really crossed the line such as him taking the young boys photo as he came out of the shower until I remembered the original movie and while it’s something that seems really crazy to us it is true to the Uncle Buck mindset. in all honestly thinking back to the movie John Candy’s character might’ve taken it a step further

  5. Lyn says:

    I routinely boycott any remake that changes the gender or ethnicity of the principal characters.

    • Simon says:

      Yeah change and progress is scary huh?

      • Lyn says:

        Remaking anything that ever made any money rather than creating something new isn’t progress in my opinion. Lack of imagination is epidemic in entertainment. One more Tarzan, Robin Hood etc. I can’t wait until they turn Gulliver into a lesbian. and remake Cheers as a zumba gym.starring Jai Rodriguez.

      • Murica! says:

        Changing the race of white characters is progress? You must really hate white people.

        • Simon says:

          Morons I meant progress in the way as making an African American cast in a major network television series as progress. Stop underlining your racism as being anti PC because is not.

          • Lucifer says:

            It’s not progress. It’s sloppy seconds. It’s the industry not caring enough about women or minorities to create or take chances on original characters/projects with them in the leading roles. So they take a property they already own and revive it just to chance the gender or race of the lead to look progressive. To look like they care. But they don’t care and it’s crazy that people who want representation also don’t care that they are getting lousy remakes instead of getting original content.

  6. Lala says:

    i loved it..

  7. Tom says:

    I’m honestly surprised nobody else has taken offense at the name. Sure it was fine for John Candy, but it just feels wrong for Mike Epps.

  8. HAP says:

    So much for this being the most watched summer launch comedy on ABC since 2009. Ratings will take a dive next week.

  9. Debbie Wright says:

    The show was funny and you know it. You guys object to the show being adapted to a black family out of some wierd loyalty to John Candy. It gave me a reason to watch ABC. They never gave the show a chance, but they want to keep “Ken”. Give me a break! Goodbye ABC for good!