Summer Rental

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Summer Rental
Summer rental.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCarl Reiner
Produced byGeorge Shapiro
Written byMark Reisman
Jeremy Stevens
Music byAlan Silvestri
CinematographyRic Waite
Edited byBud Molin
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • August 9, 1985 (1985-08-09)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$24,689,703 (US)[1]

Summer Rental is a 1985 American comedy film directed by Carl Reiner and starring John Candy. The film's screenplay was written by Mark Reisman and Jeremy Stevens. An original music score was composed for the film by Alan Silvestri. The film was released on August 9, 1985, by Paramount Pictures.[2][3]


Overworked air traffic controller Jack Chester is given five paid weeks off as an alternative to being fired after nearly causing a mid-air collision on the job and having an outburst over what turned out to be a fly covering a radar blip. He uses this time off to take his wife Sandy and children Jennifer, Bobby, and Laurie on a summer vacation from the Atlanta area to the Gulf Coast resort town of Citrus Cove, Florida, where they are beset by a never-ending barrage of problems. First they are bumped out of the front of the line of an upscale seafood restaurant in favor of arrogant local sailing champion Al Pellet, who becomes Jack's main nemesis throughout the film. Then the family misreads the address, moves into the wrong house, and are forced to leave in the middle of the night, ending up in a decrepit shack on a public beach with a constant stream of beach-goers tromping through. Jack then suffers a leg injury that prevents him from spending time with his family.

Later, Jack again locks horns with Pellet, the new owner of the dubious piece of real estate where the Chesters are staying after the previous owner died. Jack gives Pellet the check for $1,000 to cover the rent for the next two weeks, but Pellet tears up the check and orders the Chesters to leave the house when their first two weeks expire or he'll throw them out personally.

To avoid an early eviction, Jack challenges Pellet to a race at the upcoming Citrus Cove Regatta: If Pellet wins, Jack will pay him the $1,000 rent and take his family home; if Jack wins, he keeps the money and earns the right to stay in the house for two more weeks rent-free. Pellet scoffs at the notion that Jack could ever defeat him in a race, but accepts the challenge. However, Jack hasn't sailed for many years and doesn't even have a boat. Scully, a local saloon keeper with a pirate's mentality whom the Chesters met earlier, befriends Jack and volunteers to help him on both counts.

The bored Chesters come to life by helping Jack make his new vessel seaworthy. This motley crew is at first no match for Pellet or anybody else in the race, but tossing useless garbage overboard, a strong breeze and a large pair of pants enable Jack to achieve a victory at sea.



The film was based on a summer holiday taken by Bernie Brillstein when he rented a house at the beach in Southern California. "I have five children and I weigh 240 pounds," said Brillstein. "Being heavy in California is not a terrific thing. Being heavy on the beach is worse. The house on the left was occupied by two elderly sisters, one of whom had a 6-foot-4 inch retarded son who was out of Arsenic and Old Lace. The house on the right was out of Death in Venice, occupied by a chic group of homosexuals who had 28 inch waists and wore peach sweaters."[4]

It became a starring vehicle for John Candy. Director Carl Reiner said "Like a small, beautiful painting in a large frame, John is a handsome guy in a larger frame than is necessary."[4]

The film was developed at Paramount by the team of Barry Diller, Michael Eisner and Jeffrey Katzenberg. They all ended up leaving the studio before the film was made.[5][6] Brillstein expected the film to be cancelled. However Paramount's new studio president Ned Tanen greenlit the film. "It was quite a good script and we had no product," said Tanen. "There was a vacant spot of about six months on our release schedule. When all the geniuses are through, that's as good a reason as any to make a movie."[4]

Candy and Reiner got along so well that they planned to make another film together at Paramount, The Last Holiday, but it was never made.[4]


Jimmy Buffett's "Turning Around" plays during the closing credits. It is also played when the Chesters are fixing up the Barnacle. The movie soundtrack is the only place where this song was released.

In 2014 Alan Silvestri's score was released on a limited edition album by Quartet Records, twinned with his music for Critical Condition.


Box office[edit]

Summer Rental opened in 1,584 theatres on August 9, 1985 with a domestic total of $24.7 million.[7] In the United States and Canada it made $5,754,259 in its first weekend ranking second at the box office. On its second weekend it grossed $3,708,812 on 1,595 theaters, a 35% decrease over the previous week ranking sixth. By the third weekend it made $2.3 million and on its fourth $1.9 million over Labor Day weekend ranking eleventh. On the fifth weekend it made over $1 million for a box office total of $21,579,838. It made another $2.8 million on its sixth and final weekend, with an increase of 171% climbing to second place behind Back to the Future.[8]

Critical response[edit]

The film received negative reviews from critics, as the film holds a 19% rating on Rotten Tomatoes from 16 reviews.[9]


Summer Rental was filmed in St. Pete Beach, near St. Petersburg, Florida. Several local landmarks can be seen throughout the movie, including the St. Petersburg Pier during the final leg of the Regatta. Other landmarks include the old drawbridge on US19/I-275 north of the old Sunshine Skyway, as well as shots of Egmont Key in the distance. The air traffic control, radar room scene was filmed on location at the Atlanta Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZTL), in Hampton, Georgia.


  1. ^ "Summer Rental". Box office mojo. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  2. ^ Maslin, Janet (1985-08-09). "Movie Review - Summer Rental - FILM: 'SUMMER RENTAL,' DIRECTED BY CARL REINER". Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  3. ^ "Summer Rental (1985) - Overview". Retrieved 2015-04-30.
  4. ^ a b c d A ghostly film that's no 'kiddie movie.' Aljean Harmetz New York Times 9 Aug 1985: C16.
  5. ^ Paramount Appoints New Production Chief By ALJEAN HARMETZ New York Times 16 Apr 1985: C15.
  6. ^ Too Many Movies and Too Few Successes Result in Poor Summer for Film Industry By LAURA LANDRO Wall Street Journal 2 Aug 1985: 15.
  7. ^ "Summer Rental". Box office mojo. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  8. ^ "Summer Rental". Box office mojo. Retrieved January 14, 2020.
  9. ^ "Summer Rental". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved January 14, 2020.

External links[edit]