The Big Bounce review by Cinema Guru Boy

Now, I've always been an Elmore Leonard fan, and most of his film adaptations have turned out pretty successful, like Get Shorty, Out of Sight, Jackie Brown, etc, but of course those films have had filmmakers attached with names like Tarantino and Soderbergh. The Big Bounce was directed by George Armitage, who is a little less pretigious. I loved Grosse Pointe Blank, and was eagerly anticipating his follow-up piece, and when it turned out to be an Elmore Leonard adaptation, well, this was exciting news. But in all honesty, it was really little more than the poor man's Jackie Brown.

Owen Wilson stars as Jack, a petty theft who travels to Hawaii because, well, why not? It's a nice setting for a movie. Once he lands a construction job, he has an altercation with his boss (Vinnie Jones, proving once again Guy Ritchie is the only man who should direct him) and begins wondering the island as an outcast, while striking up an unlikely friendship with the distict judge (Morgan Freeman). Then he meets a siren, the requisite female lead and potential love interest, Nancy (Sara Foster). She makes this petty theif an offer he can't refuse, the clichic big con. Here she hatches out a plan to rip off her married boyfriend, Ray (Gary Sinise). So the con is on and hilarity ensues.

The film, only 88 minutes to begin with, move slowly for a long time, so it actually seems like a regularly-legnthed movie. There's a lot thrown at the audience right off the bat, but then for the middle hour it's just alot of flirtatiousness between Jack and Nancy as she insistantly tries to talk him into helping her with the con. There are bad sub-plots about a friend of Jack's repeatedly blackmailing him into more petty thefts and negative tension between Jack and Ray's henchman, Bob Jr (Charlie Sheen), both of which are unfunny and useless to the story. The climax then throws more at the audience, but by that time, after a useless second act, the audience is just waiting for the damn credits to roll.

So, whether Armitage and writer Sebastian Gutierrez are huge Jackie Brown fans or not, they seems to throw a lot of parallels in this film, or maybe Leonard just wasn't stretching as a writer. Jack (which was also Clooney's character's name in Out of Sight) is a petty theif fresh out of jail (a la Jackie Brown's Louis Garza) who teams up with Beach Bunny Nancy(a la Melanie) to rip off her morally corrupt boyfriend, Ray (a la Ordell Robbie). Throw in a friendship with a law enforcement official who may or may not have alterior motives (a la Max Cherry), may he be a judge or a bail bondsman, but this seems to add up to more than just coincidence.

The Big Bounce wasn't a horrible film, it was just flat and unispired. A collection of actors who are generally good, even in dreck, like Morgan Freeman, Gary Sinise and Bebe Neuwirth, aren't really even worth the 88 minutes of your time. So unless geniuses like Tarantino are taking the reigns, Leonard needs to retain creative control.

3 out of 10 Jackasses
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