The Big Kahuna

"Extraordinary"

The Big Kahuna Review


When one thinks of a Big Kahuna, Kevin Spacey suits that title just fine. When he walks across a room in a scene, all eyes are drawn to his presence. His subtle pose and commanding smile act as a strong gravity that draws all parties' interest. Spacey's voice carries such conviction that the most common of situations are made deep when he speaks of them. He echoes the great works of Barrymore and Grant and carries the weight of these acting giants without even a shrug of the shoulders.

The new film, The Big Kahuna, marks the first venture of Spacey's new film production company in conjunction with Andrew Stevens's new production company, Franchise Pictures. I wonder of Mr. Stevens, a veteran of late-night Cinemax, thought up the title all by himself. The only thing missing is Shannon Tweed. I guess her acting chops weren't up to par for Spacey.

The film revolves around the interesting and dramatic world of industrial lubricant salesman holed up in Wichita, Kansas for one night, looking for love. No.no.sorry about that. Got that mixed up with an earlier Stevens film, Point of Seduction: Body Chemistry III. The film is actually about the interesting and dramatic world of industrial lubricant salesman holed up in Wichita, Kansas for one night, trying to "nail" (pun intended) a "Big Kahuna," a CEO of a major industrial firm that is looking to do business with some swinging industrial lubricant salesmen.

The characters in the film are the strongest elements of the piece. The portrayal of men at different stages of their lives is brought to life by the solid acting of Danny Devito, Peter Facinelli, and Kevin Spacey. These life stages are well-crafted: the naïve innocent babe with pure thoughts and without character, the jaded middle-aged guy still fighting the good fight with both fists, and the reserved older man with the painful resolutions of a life spent without reward. The use of mirrors and dream states of introspection add depth and quality to the plight of each man's silent and subconscious battle for identity.

The biggest surprise of the film is Peter Facinelli. The infamous Mike Dexter from Can't Hardly Wait, one of the best teenage/John Hughesian films in recent years. His portrayal of a religious man who would rather sell Jesus than industrial lubricants is heavy and well-done. The conflicts he creates with Spacey's character are some of the best moments of the film and really show off its impressive writing.

The Big Kahuna is an amazing character study and can sit proudly among any works by Mamet, Allen, Towne, or Schrader. Anyone that enjoys tightly woven films revolving around the examination of man's existence in this somewhat strange thing we call the world will find satisfaction with this piece of cinema.

Day-O.



The Big Kahuna

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 28th April 2000

Distributed by: Lions Gate Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 57 Rotten: 20

IMDB: 6.7 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: John Swanbeck

Starring: as Larry Mann, as Phil Cooper, as Bob Walker, Paul Dawson as Bellboy

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