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Comedy - Family

Big Trouble (2002)

Duration1h 25m
RatingsUK: 12, USA: PG-13, Denmark: 7
Source of storyA screenplay of a book of the same name by Dave Barry. It has echoes of Carl Hiassen who also worked on the same Miami newspaper.
DirectorBarry Sonnenfeld
Writers/ScriptRobert Ramsey, Matthew Stone
StarringTim Allen, Rene Russo, Stanley Tucci, Tom Sinzemore, Johnny Knoxville, Dennis Farina, Janeane Garofalo, Patrick Warnurton, Zooey Deschanel, Omar Epps, Sofia Vergara, 
RatingsIMDb:  6.5 by 19,605 people. Rotten Tomatoes: 48% by 112 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: I’ll try to stick to the main themes of this complex presentation.  Elliot and his son Matt find themselves attracted respectively to the wife and daughter of Arthur Herk, a rich criminal obsessed by TV and whiskey. In addition a young barfly Puggy lives in a tree on the Herk estate, and is helped by Nina the Herk’s maid. Arthur Herk has stolen money from his company and so is to be killed by a couple of hit men, using a sniper rifle. When the hit fails Arthur tries to buy a suitable weapon to protect himself, but instead is sold a portable nuclear device. Also (can there really be an also at this point) a couple of very stupid criminals break into the Herk residence and tie nearly everybody up. What else can happen?

Content:  There is no sex although Eliot and Anna kiss with intent, also a policeman is seen running nakedly through an airport. Arthur licks Nina’s toes. She does not like it and neither do we. Arthur drinks a lot. There are scenes in the grubby bar frequented by Puggy, the tree dweller, and the stupid hold-up guys. We follow the fortunes of the hit men and also those of a police duo, man and woman who are investigating the various incidents. Everybody gradually moves in the direction of Miami airport where the suitcase nuclear device makes it through security after being triggered, and actually there is more.

A View: This is a pretty madcap outing which was almost liked by the moderate number of critics who had a look at it. Could be that it tries too hard, particularly in its attempts to follow the book , so the critics have said, cramming all the characters from 300 pages into a film lasting an hour and a half. I particularly liked the hit men’s car which was fitted with automatic seat belts, a thing in America for a couple of years. So, an inoffensive film, you could have on for nothing, and now you have read this review, while doing something else.

Additional Info: It was due for release more or less after 9/11 and so distribution was deferred and virtually all publicity cancelled. 

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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