Big Trouble

Tim Allen, Rene Russo, Stanley Tucci

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 0
Community: star rating
5 0 0
April 5, 2002

When director Barry Sonnenfeld started making a film of humorist Dave Barry's first novel, Big Trouble — this was pre-September 11th — he had no idea that bombs and airport security would be hell to play for laughs. He knows now. So does Disney, which originally scheduled the film for release on September 21st, 2001. The studio was stuck: It couldn't cut those scenes, since the plot pivots on them, but it could hold the release and hope for the best. Good luck. It's not just the cringe-inducing moments at the Miami airport where a nuclear bomb, clearly visible through scanners, passes through security. The big problem with Big Trouble, despite a fine cast and director (Sonnenfeld made Get Shorty and Men in Black), is that the damn thing isn't funny.

Even the best actors need workable material, and screenwriters Robert Ramsey and Matthew Stone, the perpetrators of Destiny Turns On the Radio, don't provide it. Sonnenfeld directs the film like Noah, throwing in two of everything: two disgruntled parents (Tim Allen and Rene Russo), two disgruntled teens (Ben Foster and Zooey Deschanel), two bumbling cops (Patrick Warburton and Janeane Garofalo), two bumbling FBI guys (Omar Epps and Dwight "Heavy D" Myers), two bumbling hitmen (Dennis Farina and Jack Kehler), two bumbling crooks (Tom Sizemore and Johnny Knoxville). Solid actors are stranded. It's meant to be a riot to watch Stanley Tucci, playing the devious businessman who sets the plot in motion with a bomb-selling scheme, suck the toes of a Peruvian maid (Sofia Vergara). Jason Lee is cast as a vagrant who lives in a tree and devours Fritos in a shameless bout of product plugging. Truth be told, Miami is the only element in this stinker that comes out looking good.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    • joe Nicolas Cage
      star rating
      Roadside Attractions
    • star rating
      Summit Entertainment
    • star rating
      Paramount Pictures
    More Reviews »
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Stillness Is the Move”

    Dirty Projectors | 2009

    A Wim Wenders film and a rapper inspired the Dirty Projectors duo David Longstreth and Amber Coffmanto write "sort of a love song." "We rented the movie Wings of Desire from Dave's brother's recommendation, and he had me go through it and just write down some things that I found interesting, and they made it into the song," Coffman said. As for the hip-hop connection, Longstreth explained, "The beat is based on T-Pain. We commissioned a radio mix of the song by the guy who mixes all of Timbaland's records, but the mix we made sounded way better, so we didn't use it."

    More Song Stories entries »