Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
There are a few things that can come along to spoil a perfect moment: cigarette smoke wafting your direction as you are trying to eat… litter in the path of that otherwise enjoyable view… or a phone call right after you have gathered the family for a meal. It is those little annoyances that daily remind us that we live in a less than perfect world.
There are some funny moments in “Big Trouble.” Dave Berry, Miami Herald humor columnist, has tried to expand his horizons into a larger project (how novel—pun intended). The big problem is that I don’t think America will buy it. “Big Trouble” has been classified as one of Hollywood’s 9/11 tragedies: Berry’s story features a nuclear bomb in a suitcase, an incompetent airport screening process, and the take over of a plane at gun point. Disney’s Touchstone pictures can blame all they want on rotten timing, but there are many other ingredients that make this off-beat comedy lean more to the “off” side.
As I recently took my family on a trip to Florida, we received the full security treatment on the return trip home. As a husband and father, it was awkward to watch my wife and sons be padded down and have all of our luggage unpacked and searched. I’m thankful for all such efforts that help keep our country a bit more secure, but do I want to watch a lame comedy poke fun at it? Not really.
“Big Trouble” tells the story of two hit men, an embezzler, a single father, an unhappy wife, nomadic hippie, black marketers, a herd of goats, and a toad that spits hallucinogenic juice. Out of these ingredients we are going to try and bake a comedy (Martha Stewart’s help included).
Eliot Arnold (Tim Allen) is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for The Herald. Unfortunately, he oversteps his bounds and loses his job. Arthur Herk (Stanley Tucci), is a corporate executive that embezzles money to maintain his glamorous lifestyle. Anna Herk (Rene Russo) is the unhappy and pampered housewife who spends her waking hours trying to draw inspiration from Martha Stewart. A school prank bring all of these unlikely characters together in the plush home of the Herk’s.
What could possibly spoil all of this converging nonsense? Our story goes on to mix in foot fetish, marital infidelity, and adolescent lust. In one scene of male rear nudity, a man runs through the airport naked after a strip search. This incident later leads him into becoming a male stripper. Not only do those offensive ingredients spoil this flic, but it is way overloaded with too many characters to even squeeze in a laugh or two. I did like the Martha Stewart cameos, the goats and the radio talk show conversations, but, overall, “Big Trouble” is without a doubt a “Big Waste” of time. I strongly recommend that you skip this one and if you just must watch Tim Allen, stick to the “Home Improvement” reruns. This is one comedy that should have definitely stayed in the can.