HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Now Showing Today's Date:

The Big Bounce

Elmore Leonard's novels tend to meander without losing their cool. Plots just sort of happen to complex characters that we often can't help but like despite their various moral shortcomings. The same thing might be said for Owen Wilson, an actor whose persona relies upon a relaxed semi-stoner charm; most characters he plays end up more surprised than anyone when things happen to them.

And so the perfect state to combine these elements should be Hawaii, where everybody surfs, at least in movies, and life moves at a more leisurely pace. You'd think so, wouldn't you?

Well, you and everyone involved in The Big Bounce would be wrong. A lackadaisical heist film that barely remembers that it has somewhere to go, this movie overloads the meandering so much that the only thing really stolen is the audience's time.

Wilson stars as Jack Ryan, considerably less stolid than Tom Clancy's hero. Willing to do the wrong thing just as much as the right thing, Ryan starts the movie off by clocking Vinnie Jones with a baseball bat. The action makes him a hero among local Hawaiian natives, because Jones' Mr. Harris is foreman on a hotel construction project that violates sacred grounds. But let's face it: Ryan swung the bat because he wanted to hit something, not out of any sense of justice.

With his good-natured affability, though, Ryan makes as many friends as he does enemies. Soon enough, he's out of jail and into a job as a handyman for a cluster of bungalows on an island shore. On the side he still does some breaking and entering, either for fun or just to impress local bad girl Nancy (Sara Foster). It might be charming if it weren't for the strangeness of his new employer, Judge Walter Crewes (Morgan Freeman) obviously and purposefully looking the other way.

What sort of set-up is this? By the time the twists start turning, it has become impossible to care. To the film's detriment, director George Armitage has gotten so caught up in the charming possibilities of his surroundings that he can't seem to bring them to fruition.

First off is the strange presence and non-presence of the locale. Nothing about being set in Hawaii really has anything to do with the plot, except for the native protesters that are pretty quickly forgotten. In fact, the controversy over this luxury hotel site only gets mentioned a couple of times after the set-up; the real con revolves around what a private jerk developer Ray Ritchie (Gary Sinise) is. Oh, they try to make it about business, but it's really about displeasure.

Worse, Armitage uses the scenery only slightly less ham-handedly than the infamous Brady Bunch in Hawaii episodes. Whenever come dangerously close to making sense, the director cuts away to surfing shots, just to remind us that hey, we're in Hawaii. But he doesn't have the courtesy of at least throwing in a cursed tiki idol.

So perhaps the charm of the performances could save it. In some moments, it looks entirely possible. Wilson, of course, could read the phone book and with his idiosyncratic delivery get a fair share of laughs. He's bolstered by the always believable Freeman and a raft of strong character actors, including a strangely underplayed Charlie Sheen. But Wilson generates no chemistry with the supposedly dangerous Nancy, nor with any other character that he's supposedly enamored of. Probably, it's because we just can't believe that Ryan has enough ambition to actually pursue anybody, let alone connect with them on a meaningful level. (Actually, he has some dialogue pretty much summing that up.)

It's also quite possible that nobody could connect with Nancy. In her big-screen debut, Sara Foster smirks, winks and when appropriate acts aloof to bend men to her will. Presumably, these same gestures are what led to her casting, because she cannot act. Smoking hot, the film gets noticeably less interesting when Armitage puts her in scenes with clothing. Nancy ends up being not so much femme fatale as femme futile, and so, who cares?

We should. But we don't.


Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites