Monday, November 07, 2005


Following last weeks screening of True Romance and continuing with light and fluffy films which serve to entertain and entertain only, comes a special spousal-unit (LJ) selected movie: Big Trouble. Director Barry Sonnenfeld is no stranger to large ensemble comedies, having previously made the The Addams Family films and Elmore Leonard's Get Shorty. Here he is working with an larger cast than either of those films, and a novel by Miami Herald columnist/humourist/pulitzer-winner Dave Berry.

Big Trouble follows, well, a lot of folks. Jason Lee plays a homeless man (and narrator) living in a Miami businessman's tree. He eats Doritoes and falls in love with the maid (SofĂ­a Vergara). The rich man (Stanley Tucci) is in the process of buying a Thermonuclear weapon in a suitcase. There are hitmen (Dennis Farina and Jack Kehler) trying to kill him, and thieves (Johnny Knoxville and Tom Sizemore) stumble in during the buy. His daughter (a very droll Zooey Deschanel) is the also targeted for a hit (of sorts) from her classmate (Ben Foster) in a game of involving sniping by super-soaker. This game brings in two cops (Patrick Warburton and Janeane Garofalo) who mistake the squirt gun for an actual fire-arm. The classmates dad (Tim Allen) is called and comes over to fall in love with rich businessman's wife (Rene Russo in hot-pants) . With me so far? Well the FBI (Omar Epps and Dwight 'Heavy D' Myers) are also interested in the traffiking of nuclear weaponry and come in just as the entire cast begins to butt up against one another. And what nuclear weapons comedy would be complete without a cameo from Martha Stewart?

Like a piece of good stand-up comedy (or an episode of Seinfeld), there is somewhat a long build-up, introducing elements and characters. This begins to pay off around the half-way mark, as Berry's tidbits of Miami-life and situations begin to come together. It's all the little details which keep repeating themselves to become funny as the film progresses: an annoying morning radio show which seems to be on 24 hours a day, everyone seems to know so much about nature (all from watching the Discovery Channel), in fact the sheer number of animals in the film which get worked into the proceedings, including a hallucinogenic frog and a nearly flying goat at one point.

The film was completely crushed by the events of September 11, 2001. Big Trouble was to be released in October of that year, but was moved to early 2002. Even after several months, people didn't want to see a film which played for laughs the smuggling of a nuclear device through incompetent airline security on a plane into the United States. It's a shame really, because there is a terrific cast of B- and C- list actors who share the screen nicely together, with no one performance dominating the others. Dennis Farina and Jack Kehler playing the out-of-town hitmen have a couple great bits of dialogue and being non-Miami locals bear the brunt of the quirky-annoying Florida subculture, which Berry has a field-day spoofing.

Come out Tuesday Night for some overlooked lightweight fun. Drinks at 8:00pm, Trailers & Showtime at 8:30pm.


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