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Big Trouble

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I wanted to like Big Trouble. I really, really did. It’s based on a Dave Barry novel I enjoyed – and even if it borrowed a bit too much from the Carl Hiassen style of a “caper”, it was a fun little ride. Mostly for the way-too accurate way in which it depicted the quirks of Southern Florida. When I heard Tim Allen had been cast as the lead I was a bit apprehensive. Tool-man Tim was a decent standup but when it comes to movies it seems he’s locked in the box as “Affable Guy”.

Then I heard the cast: Rene Russo, Stanley Tucci, Janeane Garofalo, Patrick Warburton, Jason Lee, Andy Richter. And Sofia Veraga! No way they could screw this up, right? It’s from “the director of Men In Black” for goodness sakes. Of course, he also directed “Wild, Wild West”.

Can’t anyone in Hollywood direct a non-gross out comedy that’s actually funny anymore? I’m usually willing to give comedy a lull factor until the jokes picked up, but with Big Trouble the lull was for about the same length of the movie. None of the actors did a particularly bad job – the thing was just dull. It had to be intentional, because it takes a particular type of ill-conceived direction to make a nuclear bomb winding its way through Miami dull.

The few jokes that do land on the mark are ruined by their overuse. The two hitmen, played by Dennis Farina and an interchangeable actor, meet up with a radio show consisting of the host daring Gator fans to call in after a loss. One calls in and a “So?” battle ensues. This really does happen. But why is the Gator joke popping up again and again in the movie? By the third time you just have to groan.

No fan of Miami, I think this film does it a disservice. Because without the inclusion of some signs and a couple pieces of dialogue, you wouldn’t even know the film takes place there. What a waste. Bad Boys, which was a fun piece of action trash, does a much better job of bringing the Miami vibe across the screen – as does the novel Big Trouble is based on.

This movie was so poorly conceived not even Sofia Veraga’s body could save it, and that’s a bloody stinky shame.

Oliver Willis is willing to have Ms. Sofia Veraga personally lecture him about this review

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