28 August 2003 | mentalcritic
I've seen one user comment here already that unfairly compares Big Trouble with Snatch or Pulp Fiction, but that's really neither here nor there. Big Trouble is intended for an entirely different audience, and while it never reaches the mighty heights of the former, it does a big crap on the latter because it never takes itself too seriously. It recognises that the audience doesn't want a film as a fashion statement, but merely as a form of entertainment. The makers also recognise that they don't have the material here to entertain and inform at the same time, so they just concentrate on making the best comedy that they can. It is for this reason most of all that they succeed.
The strengths of this film are actors like Tim Allen, Jason Lee, Dennis Farina, and Tom Sizemore. I never thought I would say that about Allen, but it appears that when you give him decent material, he can actually make something out of it. Jason Lee is a pleasant surprise as the unwashed hippie who seems to just magically appear in a tree (you have to see it to believe it). Tom Sizemore, however, really steals the show as the thug who just doesn't quite seem to have the brainpower to do anything correctly.
Put simply, this is a crime caper that was intended for families who want to be able to take their pre-teen children to something with this kind of plot and not be worried about the content. Whether you agree with this marketing philosophy or not, it does allow for success of a different kind, namely that it succeeds because it is so unreal that the viewer can laugh without getting disgusted by some of the characters.
The things that detract from this comedy are some weak supporting actors. Zooey Deschanel even gives the camera the old "stunned mullet" look at times, while Patrick Warburton only seems to know one expression. Stanley Tucci can't give us anything to sympathise with his character over, and Sofia Vergara seems completely doomed to be a bit player for whatever little career she might have. The running length is a bit of a two-edged sword - on one hand, it makes sure that the film is never boring, and no scene goes on for longer than its welcome. On the other hand, possibilities for interesting subplots are often passed over.
In the end, I gave the film a seven out of ten. It's not rocket science, but if you sit back in your chair with a beer and some popcorn, preferably with some friends to share your disbelief with, it makes a good piece of entertainment that won't make you wish you could have those 85 or so minutes back. Recommended for those in a light-hearted mood.