Director George Armitage’s 2004 remake of the Ryan O’Neal-Leigh Taylor-Young 1969 caper thriller The Big Bounce is a total non-event and no better – actually worse – than the vapid, long forgotten original.
With an intriguing starring cast of Owen Wilson, Sara Foster, Gary Sinise, Charlie Sheen, Vinnie Jones, Morgan Freeman, Willie Nelson, Bebe Neuwirth and Harry Dean Stanton, all set for a classy thriller – but it doesn’t happen.
You would think that a film with this cast, this director and Elmore Leonard’s name as the source novelist would be clever fun – but it just isn’t. Wilson is the hapless star who takes over the role of drifter and criminal Jack Ryan, who gets into big trouble in his job at a Californian hotel. Sara Foster plays greedy Nancy Hayes, who tries to get him to rob her evil hotel magnate boyfriend Ray Ritchie (Gary Sinise) in a dangerous escapade.
As seen in the release version, Sebastian Gutierrez’s script is a muddled and uninspired mess and Armitage’s direction can’t sort it out, and the last-minute hacking of the movie’s running time (it is only 88 minutes) obviously can’t have helped at all. Armitage says the film encountered troubles in post production when producer Steve Bing interfered with it to get a PG-13 instead of an R rating, eliminating some love scenes and making a lot of cuts to the language and nudity.
Also in the cast are Tony Dorsett, Mike Renfro, Pete Johnson, Gregory Sporleder, Brian Keaulana, Andrew Wilson and Anahit Minasyan.
In the UK, Warner Bros sent invites to critics, but cancelled the screening at the last minute and diverted the movie to DVD. It was a major flop, costing $50 million and taking only $6.8 million.
The setting is moved from the novel’s Thumb area of Michigan to the North Shore of Oahu and the film was shot in Hawaii.
Armitage is the director of the excellent Grosse Pointe Blank (1997), which was an R rated caper, made for $7 million and took a total of around $45 million.
© Derek Winnert 2016 Classic Movie Review 4460
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