Movie Night: Big Trouble

MoviesNow, this is an example of exactly the opposite lesson. Get your hopes up too high, and you can’t help but be disappointed.

I loved Dave Barry’s original book; not only was it a fine example of Barry’s wit extended to novel-length, but it was a biting satire of everything Miami. And the movie was a prime example of really bad timing — nobody wanted to release a movie (a comedy, no less) featuring a black-market nuclear bomb in the wrong hands in October of 2001. In the end, the picture was shuffled to late spring of 2002, and released with next to no promotion. Despite a fantastic cast (including, just for starters, Tim Allen, Rene Russo, Stanley Tucci, Dennis Farina, Tom Sizemore, Jason Lee, and the vastly underrated Patrick Warburton) and the (usually) competent direction of Barry Sonnenfeld (Men In Black II being a notable exception), the movie flopped.

Of course, my first reaction was come on — how could a movie succeed when it was basically scuttled?

The fact that it didn’t do well theatrically also meant that once it finally did come out on disc, there was no incentive for retailers to do any specific promotion either. The disc wasn’t stocked regularly, and stayed at that $30 price point that guarantees nobody’s going to pick it up sight-unseen. The same logic applies to the rental outlets — nowhere in sight. My difficulty in finding a copy to watch probably added to my elevated expectations.

In retrospect, I should have taken the actual critical reviews more seriously, rather than getting my hopes up too high. ’Cause the movie’s certainly not bad. I was chuckling throughout, but just not laughing out loud. Certainly better than the P.O.S. I reviewed last week. But without Barry’s narrative wit, and without the real satirical edge of the original, the end product just falls short of being genuinely good.

Everything from the script to the performances to the direction is just fine, but not remarkable. And I was realy hoping for one of those, “See, I knew it was better than everyone thought,” moments.

I’m glad I saw it, but I’m not going to run out to buy a copy for my home library. Especially not at $30.


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