So I saw Big Trouble yesterday and I have to say that I really liked it. I had never even heard of it until I read that it was postponed because of the terrorist attacks. This really surprised me since I’m a big fan of Dave Barry and wondered how this book slipped under my radar.
As usual, there’s the whole “differences between the book and the movie”. Some of them are obvious and important, some are nitpicky and I don’t understand why they were changed. Examples:
Book: Elliot does an ad for Hammerhead Ale
Movie: Elliot does an ad for Fishhook Ale
Book: Elliot drives a Kia
Movie: Elliot drives a Geo
Book: Officer Kramitz gets squirted by the frog
Movie: Arthur Herk gets squirted by the frog
The movie also leaves out much of the backstory about Arthur Herk and his construction company. This I can understand since it probably would have translated poorly to film.
Jason Lee can pretty much only play one type of character–Brodie or Banky from the View Askewniverse, or the rock star in Almost Famous. He plays more or less this same role here as Puggy, and I think he pulls it off well. Great casting. Johnny Knoxville of “Jackass” fame (infamy?) is also perfect for the role of the dumb crook. Tim Allen was a bit too “Hollywood” for a guy who is supposedly down on his luck, though.
I can see why they postponed this movie from September, but I think there really is no concern about it now. Yes, it’s ultimately about a bomb in a suitcase and a plane gets hijacked and may have to be shot down, but the overall tone of the movie is light-hearted and silly, as opposed to sinister and mean like, say, Collateral Damage (another postponed film). Only one person actually dies in the movie, and even that scene is composed in keeping with the general tone of the film.
I also enjoyed the still-frames with narration. It was a cool way to break up the story for exposition.
Although I admit I didn’t see the whole credit sequence, I thought a movie with a cast of this size needed one of those “show the people and put their names on the bottom” sequences like in Dogma or The Blues Brothers. I was in a hurry and couldn’t stay so maybe they in fact did do this. Can someone fill me in?
Roger Ebert discussed the “running jokes” in his review and didn’t care too much for them. I think this comes down to what you think of Dave Barry’s style. If you’re a fan, chances are you’ll like them. They played very well in the book and worked in the movie, at least for me. I think the sports-talk radio gag was even better in the movie than the book. I was kinda upset that they more or less tossed aside the “I WANT YOUR LOVE POOTY!” song by the Seminal Fluids, though.
Altogether? Funny movie, but Dave Barry fans will definetly enjoy it more than non-fans.