For Studio Profits?
Release Date: April 05, 2002
Audience: Older teens & adults
Runtime: 85 minutes
Distributor: Touchstone Pictures/Buena Vista/Disney
Director: Barry Sonnenfeld
Executive Producer: Jim Wedaa
Writer: Robert Ramsey & Matthew Stone
Address Comments To:Michael Eisner, Chairman/CEO
The Walt Disney Company
(Buena Vista, Caravan, Hollywood, Miramax, & Touchstone Pictures)
Walt Disney Studios
500 South Buena Vista Street
Burbank, CA 91521
Narrated by Eliot Arnold (Tim Allen), the tale begins with Eliot’s disrespectful son Matt (Ben Foster) asking to borrow his dad’s GEO because he has to kill a girl that night. We soon find out that “killing,” at Matt’s school, means drawing a name from a pile and tracking down that person to shoot him or her with a squirt gun. On this particular night, however, Matt has drawn the name of a girl with a shady father, and several hit men are out to give him a real “kill.” The action and comedy begin when both “shootings” happen at once. A great fiasco ensues, as numerous parties, including maids and bystanders, are suddenly involved in each other’s lives.
The shady father, Arthur Herk (Stanley Tucci), who has been embezzling funds from his company, suspects that the higher-ups have put a contract out on his life. In order to strike first, he disguises himself in a silly wig and goes to order a weapon from some Russians posing as bartenders. The Russians are out of most weapons and can only spare a nuclear bomb they happen to have smuggled into Miami. Though it looks like a giant garbage disposal, Herk accepts it, and the chaos begins.
The City of Miami suddenly becomes very small, with everyone conveniently running into each other numerous times, big, rapper-looking FBI guys coming on the scene (Dwight “Heavy D” Myers and Omar Epps), and love managing to find time to spark between several couples. These pairs include Eliot Arnold and Arthur Herk’s wife, Anna (Rene Russo), their children, Matt Eliot and Jenny Herk (Zooey Deschanel), Nina the maid (Sofia Vergara), and Puggy the vagrant (Jason Lee). There are several working partners, such as the FBI guys, airline pilots and a silly police team that includes Janeane Garofalo as Monica Romero. These people are not only interacting with their partners, but they interact with other couples in numerous twists of fate. In the end, Eliot must reach from within to try and stop the bad guys and prove to his son he is worthy of respect.
Dave, Dave, Dave . . . We had all hoped for so much! Having read humorist Dave Barry’s GUIDE TO LIFE, I had high hopes for a fun and clever, if not slightly mindless and useless, ninety- minute reprieve in BIG TROUBLE. But it was not to happen . . . Sure, there are a couple of cute lines like, “Matt viewed my GEO as a symbol of bad luck, wrong choices and missed opportunities…” and “Roger, the mutt, was obviously the result of hasty, unplanned dog sex,” but beyond these, we see mostly overdone comedy gags.
Despite some clever special effects with fighter planes and car collisions, and despite the cute storyline, BIG TROUBLE falls way short. I looked at my watch several times, thinking how silly, inane and uninteresting it all was – especially some overdone parts about Gator fans, and a Martha Stuart hallucination brought on by squirting toad juice. The foul language was excessive, the characters were void of moral compasses, and the violence was irritating. Finally, Rene Russo would have a tough job finding a more shallow and slutty role. The studio’s bottom line numbers will likely reflect America’s weariness with it all.
Many moviegoers probably will want to avoid BIG TROUBLE. The movie deserves as big “amen” from Solomon of old, who said, “There is nothing new under the sun.”
Despite some clever special effects and despite the cute storyline, BIG TROUBLE falls way short. It was silly, inane, and uninteresting – especially some overdone parts about Gator fans, and a Martha Stuart hallucination brought on by squirting toad juice. The foul language was excessive, the characters were void of moral compasses, and the violence was irritating. Finally, Rene Russo would have a tough job finding a more shallow and slutty role. Most moviegoers probably will want to avoid BIG TROUBLE.