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"The Big Bounce" - Movie Review

  • Annabelle Robertson Entertainment Critic
  • 2004 1 Jan
  • COMMENTS
"The Big Bounce" - Movie Review

Release Date:  January 30, 2004

Rating:  PG-13 (for sexual content and nudity, violence and language)

Genre:  Crime/Thriller/Comedy

Director:  George Armitage

Actors:  Owen Wilson, Morgan Freeman, Charlie Sheen, Sara Foster, Gary Sinise, Bebe Neuwirth, Harry Dean Stanton, Scott Caan, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson,

Review:  I’m going to try and find some redeeming qualities to this film – truly I am. But, trust me when I say that it is no easy task.

Jack Ryan (Owen Wilson – and nothing to do with Tom Clancy’s famed presidential character) is an aimless petty criminal and drifter who happens to be good-looking as well. Funny isn’t it, how film criminals are always criminally good looking? Anyway, Jack has a decent sense of humor, especially given that he spends the occasional weekend in jail and tends to get beat up by people he’s angered. Then again, he does live on the North Shore of Oahu. That would make anyone feel good.

OBJECTIONABLE CONTENT:

"The Big Bounce"

 • = Mild  •• = Average ••• = Heavy 

•••• = Extreme


Adult Themes: 

•••

Drugs/Alcohol Content:

••

Language/Profanity:

•••

 Sexual Content/Nudity: 

•••

Violence: 

•••


After hitting his foreman (Vinnie Jones) with a bat over a racist comment, Jack wins the approval of the local district judge, Walter Crewes (Morgan Freeman) and his poker cronies, who include none other than Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson, in two slightly-more-than-cameo roles. Walter offers Jack a job at his motel and keeps an eye on him. But, Jack is a criminal, so he soon goes back to stealing. When he meets sexpot Nancy Hayes (Sara Foster), the mistress of his old boss, Ray Ritchie (Gary Sinise), Nancy tells Jack how they can con Ray for $200,000. When Jack hesitates, Nancy convinces him with her special powers of persuasion (take a guess).

Adding to the confusion of this sorely miscast cast of characters are two scorned wives, Richie’s right-hand man, Nancy’s other lover – Bob, Jr. (Charlie Sheen with a mustache – not cute at all), and the foreman-with-a-vendetta. Of course, even the good guys are looking out for themselves, so things aren’t as they seem. Perplexed? So was I, especially after it became clear that they were all scamming each other. This might have been fun, of course – a sort of “who’s doing what to whom” that kept us all guessing. Instead, it had us all snoozing.

The script, which comes from a book by Elmore Leonard, should have been far better. After all, it was Leonard’s books that led to hit films like “Get Shorty” and “Jackie Brown.” But maybe this script went through too many rewrites – or maybe it wasn’t good to begin with, because the characters are poorly drawn and the plot is virtually non-existent. Nothing happens during the first half of the film except a few petty crimes and Jack lusting after Nancy. When the action finally gets underway, we aren’t sure who the real bad guy is – and we have to sit through far too many scenes involving Jack flirting with Nancy, Jack and Nancy on the beach, Jack and Nancy in bed – you get the idea. So, even though this film boasts some great actors (this does not include Foster, who seems to have wandered onto the set and been told to stay because of her figure), none of these actors are ever given a chance to act. And when they do, it’s almost as if they are as bored as we are. Such a shame, because Freeman, Sinise and Sheen – and sometimes even Wilson – tend to turn in great performances.

What about those redeeming qualities I promised? Well, Owen Wilson is handsome, and he does have some funny comebacks. Hawaii is gorgeous. I learned how to say “Thanks” in Hawaiian (“Mahalo”). And, we get to hear a snippet of a Willie Nelson song in the background during one scene. How’s that?

In terms of moral value, “The Big Bounce” is a big bust. It’s full of language, sex and nudity (mostly rear, but the camera lingers). God is referred to twice as “an imaginary friend for grown-ups,” and none of the characters have any virtues at all – including the cops and judges. There isn’t even loyal friendship, the one thing we usually see in criminal movies (the old “honor among thieves”). Sure, criminals will be criminals, and it can be interesting to delve into the minds of people who do nothing but lie, steal, have sex on a whim, commit adultery and murder – I guess. But this film doesn’t shed even the faintest light on the reality of that lifestyle. It actually makes it seem like a whole lot of fun and a very worthy pursuit, given the opportunity. After all, murderers and thieves always come out on top – wealthy, happy and free. Right. And I’m the next “American Idol.”

Actually, as long as I’m imagining things, I’d rather be Simon Cowell, the hit TV show’s sarcastic English judge. So here goes. When it comes to “The Big Bounce,” I don’t mean to be rude, but it was horrible, truly horrible. In fact, I think it just might be one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. Really.