Bottle Rocket is about a group of friends, family, and acquaintances who go on a few adventures of petty crime, executed incompetently. The movie is nothing short of hilarious. I put it up with Caddyshack, Animal House, Young Frankenstein and the like in terms of its humor.
The story follows three friends in their mid-20s who unsuccessfully give a life of crime a shot. The two main characters are Anthony (Luke Wilson) who escapes from a mental hospital at the beginning of the movie and Digman (Owen Wilson) who helps "spring" him, not realizing that Anthony can leave whenever he wants. They still do an escape, aided by an administrator, because Digman is so excited to free him and Anthony doesn't want to let him down.
The Wilson crew is now well known for flicks like Wedding Crashers and Old School, but Bottle Rocket was written by Owen Wilson. It was fascinating for me to see what is so obvious now and clear then, they regularly approach and often achieve comic genius.
A few thoughts that came to my mind:
- Seriously, was I sleeping in 1996? How could I possibly have missed it?
- Owen Wilson is a magnificent writer. I see that he has an upcoming project to be released that he's working on with Harold Ramis. Mr. Ramis wrote or co-wrote such gems as Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day.
- James Caan plays a great part where he brings a bit of Sonny to life here and there.
- While the style of comedy in this film is similar to Wedding Crashers and Old School it still works. It's sort of like Austin Powers in that regard. If you like the Wedding Crashers/Old School style, you will love this.
It's a zippy movie that never really lags. Two home run humor parts:
- Anthony (who recently was released from a mental hospital) visits his younger sister Grace (who is maybe 13 years old) at her school and she worries about what's going to happen to him. When Anthony tells Digman (Owen Wilson) about it, Digman wonders aloud "What has she ever accomplished in her life?"
- The scene when Anthony and Digman rob a bookstore. It is side splitting humor and I won't totally ruin it.
If you were like me and you snoozed through '96, do yourself a favor and check this movie out.