Big Trouble

Big Trouble  (Double Sided)Starring:
Tim Allen as Eliot Arnold
Rene Russo as Anna Herk
Tom Sizemore as Snake
Janeane Garofalo as Monica Ramiro
Omar Epps as Pat Greer
Dennis Farina as Henry Algott
Stanley Tucci as Arthur Herk
Patrick Warburton as Walter Kramitz
DJ Qualls as Andrew Ryan
Johnny Knoxville as Eddie
Zooey Deschanel as Jenny Herk
Cullen Douglas as Justin Hobart
Ben Foster as Matt Arnold
Heavy D as Alan Seitz
Daniel London as Ivan Chukov
Philip Nolen as Ken Deeber
Pruitt Taylor Vince as Jack Pendick
Sofía Vergara as Nina
Jason Lee as Puggy
Lars Arentz-Hansen as Leonid

Summary:
With a great cast and crew, Big Trouble ends up being only mildly amusing.

Story:
Big Trouble was based on the novel by humor columnist Dave Barry. The film was scheduled to be released in September 2001, but was postponed due to the terrorist attacks.

The lives of several Miami residents become intertwined in a dangerous plot after a series of improbable incidents occur. Several different stories all happen at once and eventually come together into a final resolution. They include Eliot Arnold, a former humor columnist who has been recently divorced, trying to win the respect of his son Matt. In turn, Matt falls for Jenny Hurk after a game of water pistols ends up getting him in trouble with the police. Jenny and her mother Anna live with Arthur Hurk, an arrogant individual who also happens to be involved with the mob. Then there’s two guys trying to kill Arthur, two cops investigating all of the local disturbances, a Frito loving drifter named Puggy who lives in a tree, and two Russians who have in their possession a nuclear bomb. When two thugs named Snake and Eddie mistakenly steal the nuclear bomb (thinking it’s a garbage disposal), all of the stories come together into a climax at the airport with the FBI.

Big Trouble is rated PG-13 for language, crude humor and sex-related, material.

What Worked:
You couldn’t have had a better crew behind this film. I’ve always enjoyed Dave Barry’s writing, so I was looking forward to seeing how the movie would turn out. His fingerprints are definitely all over it from the Frito loving hippie to the runaway goats on the freeway. Barry Sonnenfeld’s touch is also all over it as director. It’s fast paced and goofy as you would expect from his films.

The cast is first rate. Just look at the listing above. I love all of these actors and enjoy most of their work. The talent of the group is what keeps this film from totally bombing.

While not offering many laughs, there are a few really funny moments. Arthur at one point hallucinates and sees Martha Stewart’s head on a dog. Believe it or not, they really got Martha Stewart to do this. It’s rather freaky and funny. There’s also a great running gag about Florida Gator fans. It’s kind of hard to explain, but suffice it to say it involves inane chatter about the Gators on a radio show through a good portion of the film. There’s also some fun with the stupidity of Snake and Eddie.

The music by James Newton Howard is also good. It’s got a Latino sound to it that fits well with the Miami location.

What Didn’t Work:
This movie has a lot of problems. It starts with the opening scene of the film. Jason Lee appears as Puggy and narrates for a couple of minutes. Then his narration stops and is completely taken over by Tim Allen’s character. It was a weird abrupt change that didn’t make sense. The film is only mildly amusing from that point on offering very few laughs.

It doesn’t help that the last quarter of the film takes place as Snake and Eddie drag hostages through an airport at gunpoint, sneak a pistol and nuclear bomb through security, then hijack an airplane despite a grounding of all planes. Even though it has been 7 months since September 11th, it’s a hard thing to find amusing. Rather than laughing at the absurdity of it, it was an awful reminder of reality.

Other than that, a lot of the film simply wasn’t funny. A lot of the jokes fell flat. Many of them were also childish lines said with sexual innuendo. It got old after a while.

This film is a renter at best.

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