Retro Review: Big Bounce

Who’s bouncin’ who?

In the new “confidence man” comedy “The Big Bounce” Owen Wilson (“Shanghai Knights”) stars as Jack Ryan, a construction worker who loses his job when he sides with some protesters outside his workplace.

Jack finds himself out of luck until the District Judge (Morgan Freeman) takes pity on him.

Then Jack finds himself the caretaker of a series of bungalows on a beach and his luck seems to have changed. Jack seems to be back on the right track until he meets the beautiful and twisted Nancy (Sara Foster) who has other plans for Jack.

“The Big Bounce” is was conceived by crime-writer Elmore Leonard and directed by George Armitage, who brought us critically acclaimed films like “Grosse Pointe Blank” and “Miami Blues”. On paper, “The Big Bounce” looks and feels like a great movie so why is it so bland?

Well the first problem was probably the script by Sebastian Gutierrez, who also wrote “Gothika”. Gutierrez’s script has no sense of direction and it leaves all the comedy up to Wilson’s ad-libbing.

The script also doesn’t allow for any detailed explanations to why the film ends the way it does.

Matter of a fact, this film has probably the dumbest ending I have ever seen in a “con-film”.

The second problem is the laziness of Armitage and his cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball.

How can paradise be this bland and mundane? There are scenic landscape shots that have no texture or lush allure. Then you have the actors wandering around but the locations, buildings and set design are shot that it could have been a Hollywood backlot.

If you want to set a film in paradise then you need to show all of Eden and not just Eve or in this case Sara Foster.

I mean when it comes to photography I have seen better enthusiasm on the tourist channel in some hotels. I do have to give the film’s casting department credit for finding so many familiar and likeable actors for this film.

There are so many good actors here but someone forgot to tell them that there is nothing for them to do.

Hi I am Charlie Sheen and this is my 70s pornstar look. Groovy, right?

I have always loved Owen Wilson but here all he survives on is his same old complaining comedic shtick and for once I was bored with the guy.

I felt sorry for A-list stars in this film like Morgan Freeman and Gary Sinise who were absolutely wasted. And is it just me but Charlie Sheen with a mustache is creepy. There is so much talent wasted on this film that there should have been a funeral.

Within this abhorrent mess, there are signs of Elmore Leonard’s style of characters especially in the likes of Nancy, played by former model Sara Foster. Nancy’s complexity and slyness is a typical Leonard styled woman.

But in most Leonard films we can see both sides of his women. Here all we see is that Nancy is hollow and sore to the core.

Which in some ways is a shame since newcomer Foster does try a lot with her character. But she juct doesn’t have the acting chops needed to make this character complex.

I wanted so much more from the cast, the “confidence” script and the photography but every aspect of the film seemed to fail. In that respect it truly is amazing.

(1 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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