The Big Bounce

"OK"

The Big Bounce Review


Winningly wry and roguish Owen Wilson seems very much at home in the cheeky, tropical-noir world of Elmore Leonard in "The Big Bounce," a watered-down adaptation that has enjoyable vim and vigor, even if it isn't quite a faithful adaptation of Leonard's wily style.

Wilson has a gift for taking what other actors might see as rapid-fire dialogue and slowing it down to a hang-loose pace, making it seem more naturally smirky, and thereby making it his own. So as a lackadaisical surfer/vagabond/con man whose philosophy toward a career in crime is that he'll "take money if it's lying around," he's an ideal anti-hero to shrug his way through this fun but forgettable flick about an undercooked caper of mob money and double-crosses.

Fired from a construction job on the North Shore of Oahu and freshly sprung from the hoosegow after landing a baseball bat upside the foreman's noggin, Jack Ryan (Wilson) is offered a job by the blithely amused local judge who heard his case (Morgan Freeman, harmonizing perfectly with Wilson's laid-back style) -- and who likes to ruffle the feathers of Ray Ritchie (Gary Sinise), the crooked real estate developer who was pressing charges.

Working for his rent as a handyman at the judge's modest 12-bungalow getaway, Jack learns he's living just down the beach from the developer's mansion (coincidence? don't count on it) and soon begins pursuing a dodgy flirtation with a cunning, deceptively carefree flavor of femme fatale.

Newcomer Sara Foster gives refreshing dimension to her sexy, pouty and perpetually braless beach bunny, a sharp cookie named Nancy, who Jack knows good and well is the developer's extramarital plaything. Of course, who's being played by whom is open to debate. When Jack explains his criminal philosophy during a date on which he takes her out breaking and entering, Nancy ponies up her most seductive smile and mischievously coos, "What if I told you there was $200,000 just lying around? Would you take that?"

Part of what makes "The Big Bounce" worthwhile is that Jack is too smart (or is it too apathetic?) to just bite down on this bait. In fact, he drives the girl a little crazy with his on-and-off enthusiasm for her plan to have him do her dirty work pilfering bribe money from Ray's safe (he's paying off officials so he can build a resort on sacred native land). Jack knows there's gotta be more to it than that.

Director George Armitage (whose tongue-in-cheeky crime-flick resume includes "Miami Blues" and "Grosse Pointe Blank") has a feel for Leonard's irreverent sense of humor, but he's working from an over-simplified, over-Hollywoodized script (by "Gothika's" Sebastian Gutierrez) that is more concerned with coming off as broadly quirky and broadly clever than it is with developing characters with Leonard-sharp wit.

This is evidenced by one-note roles given to the great Bebe Neuwirth (as the developer's drunken-stupor wife) and the so-so Charlie Sheen (as his thick-headed lackey) -- and by a handful of overly staged episodes, like a scrappy little scuffle between Wilson and Sheen during which Foster sits nearby, sipping coffee and looking deliberately bored as she waits to see who comes out on top.

But while the screenplay is outmatched by the picture's three leads, "The Big Bounce" (which was made once before in 1969 with Ryan O'Neal) serves up enough smiles with its plot of compound twists and its charismatic leading man's impeccable comedic timing to earn its keep as an empty-calorie matinee -- or perhaps a lazy-weekend rental six months down the road.



The Big Bounce

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th January 2004

Box Office USA: $6.3M

Budget: $50M

Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures

Production compaines: Warner Bros. Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 16%
Fresh: 21 Rotten: 113

IMDB: 4.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as Jack Ryan, as Bob Rogers, Jr., as Walter Crewes, as Ray Ritchie, as Alison Ritchie, as Nancy Hayes, Anahit Minasyan as Number 9 (Virginia)

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.