Big Bounce [2004]

Director: Alex March, George Armitage
Stars: Owen Wilson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Sinise, Sara Foster, Ryan O'Neal
Genre: Comedy, Crime
Rating: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Runtime: 190 minutes

The Big Bounce (1969) An Elmore Leonard novel, subsequently remade for a 2004 Owen Wilson release, gets the swinging sixties treatment. Ryan O'Neal, in his first big film after achieving TV stardom, plays a Vietnam vet drifting from job to job; Leigh Taylor-Young is the rich man's mistress who takes a fancy to him. The plot sort of revolves around an amazingly vague plan to steal money from the rich guy, but the purpose seems to be showing thrillseeker Taylor-Young in various stages of undress. This is a vacuous movie, ineptly written and shot, in which poor O'Neal wanders around looking understandably bewildered. (His career bounced back with Love Story the following year.) Decorating this mishmash is the exceptionally maladroit musical score by Mike Curb (remember the soft-rock stylings of the Mike Curb Congregation?), whose soupy melodies undercut the tension at every turn. In short, a pretty good selection for Bad Cinema Night. --Robert Horton The Big Bounce (2004) There really can't be enough movies adapted from Elmore Leonard novels; his sinuous storylines and fluid, surprising dialogue give any movie a boost from the start. In The Big Bounce, laid-back Owen Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Shanghai Noon) plays Jack, a small-time crook trying to lead an easier life in Hawaii. Trouble is, he can't keep out of trouble, and when he does stay clean, trouble finds him--in this case, in the bikini-clad form of Nancy (Sara Foster), the mistress of a local developer who gets turned on by the whiff criminal activity. She lures Jack into a scheme that ultimately involves a solid cast including Morgan Freeman, Charlie Sheen, Gary Sinise, Bebe Neuwirth, Willie Nelson, and more. Foster doesn't bring much to movie besides her alarmingly sculpted body and the ending peters out, but The Big Bounce has enough snap and crackle that you don't miss the pop. --Bret Fetzer

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