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

    • Child of God
      star rating
      Well Go USA Entertainment
    • lucy
      star rating
      Universal Pictures
    • star rating
      IFC Films
    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    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

    “Love Is the Answer”

    Utopia | 1977

    The message of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" proved to be a universal and long-lasting one, which Utopia revisited 10 years later on this ballad. "From a lyrical standpoint, it's part of a whole class of songs that I write, which are about filial love," Todd Rundgren explained. "I'm not a Christian, but it's called Christian love, the love that people are supposed to naturally feel because we are all of the same species. That may be mythical, but it's still a subject." Though "Love Is the Answer" wasn't a hit, a cover version two years later by England Dan & John Ford Coley peaked at Number Ten on the Billboard singles chart.

    More Song Stories entries »