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The Big Bounce (2004)

Whos scamming who? A comedy about taking a chance on paradise.

Directed by:

George Armitage

Rating: 4/10

Running Time: 88 minutes

US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: 12a

On DVD

Country: United States

You know that lazy, lethargic, can’t-be-arsed-moving feeling you get when it’s a nice sunny day and you’re lucky enough to be spending it outdoors? Well that’s pretty much the impression given by the half-hearted and sleepy-looking cast of ‘The Big Bounce’, the Hawaii-set adaptation of the Elmore Leonard novel (he also wrote the original novels of ‘Get Shorty’, ‘Jackie Brown’ and ‘Out of Sight’, in case anybody’s interested).

It wastes Owen Wilson as wandering criminal opportunist Jack Ryan, a man who thinks his luck might just be in when he hears word of an unguarded $200,000 apparently just waiting to be taken. Even better is that the person who wants to share this supposedly-perfect crime with him is gorgeous beach babe Nancy Hayes (new-comer Sara Foster). But can he trust his newfound yo-yo-drawered friend?

Featuring turgid helmsmanship from George Armitage (last stint in the director’s chair, ‘Grosse Point Blank’, was vastly superior) and wholly uninspiring screenplay, it’s only the lush tropical scenery of ‘The Big Bounce’ that makes it worth watching. It possesses nowhere near enough energy to pass itself off as the thriller it harbours vague ambitions of being, and the comedy side of things, while mildly amusing at times, is never laugh-out-loud funny.

Frankly, everything about this sun-kissed caper is lacklustre. Sure, it has an impressive cast, with frontman Wilson – one of the best comic actors of his generation – joined by support players like Gary Sinise, Charlie Sheen and Morgan Freeman (who sports a loud shirt and Wham! Tribute earring). But, while watching this lot run around unenthusiastically trying to convince us that they’re involved in some sort of intricate criminal plot, I couldn’t help but feel that what I was actually seeing was a bunch of actors on their holidays. And all of it at the viewers’ expense. Nice gig if you can get it.

It's Got: Me wishing I was in Hawaii too.

It Needs: Plenty of sun bloc.

DVD Extras A trailer, ‘A Con in the Making’ featurette, and a couple of shorts focussing on surfing (which is a bit strange really, as the movie barely features surfing at all). DVD Extras Rating: 3/10

Alternatives:

starring Ryan O'Neal and Leigh Taylor-Young)., The Big Bounce (1969 attempt

Summary

Fun in the sun. Just a pity it’s for the actors, and not for us.

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