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Book Review: 'Laughing On the Outside: The Life of John Candy'

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Underneath his gentle, regular-guy exterior, John Candy was plagued by excess and insecurity, says author and cultural journalist Knelman. Why else would a man whose father died of a heart attack at the age of 35 drive his own weight into the 300-pound range, all the while drinking, chain-smoking, and accepting nearly every film role offered, no matter how abysmal or grueling? But while Knelman poses just such questions, he settles for repetitive and vague reminiscences of friends and colleagues and his own assumptions to answer them. The result is a choppy, circuitous look at Candy’s bad career decisions rather than the illuminating, cautionary tale of self-destruction it could have been. C