1996 - PG - 90 Mins.
|Director: Steve Miner|
|Written By: Mark Steven Johnson|
|Starring: Rick Moranis, Tom Arnold, Julianne Phillips, Carol Kane, Jeffrey Tambor |
|Review by: John Ulmer
Rick Moranis has always been a very funny guy. He was the meek nerd doing his best young Woody Allen impersonation in "Little Shop of Horrors" (1986), and he was absolutely perfect as Barney in "My Blue Heaven," which was--at the time--his fourth pairing with Steve Martin. (They ended up making four films together.)
Tom Arnold has never been particularly funny. He showed some signs of talent in "True Lies" (1994), but everything after that just went downhill. Here's a guy who has appeared in some of the worst films and television shows of the last decade, including "McHale's Navy" (1997) and "The Stupids." In fact, I went to the theater to see "McHale's Navy" upon its release and felt like vomiting from the first five minutes into it.
"Big Bully" is Rick Moranis' worst film and one of Tom Arnold's best, if that's saying anything.
I'll admit that the beginning of "Big Bully" was quite funny. There are many laugh-out-loud segments. But, unfortunately, they are drowned out by an over-the-top and truly awful, ridiculous ending, in which a man's old bully from school goes after him again with weapons from a wood-carving class. (Be careful, your kids may never want to go back to school again.)
Rick Moranis is the man who is attacked. His name is David, and the film opens with a younger version of himself being chased down a street and up against a metal gate by a chubby fellow his own age. We assume that he is beaten to a pulp, but before we see anything, it all fades away.
Years later, David has a son of his own, and has since moved out into the big city. But he's tired of the city life, and after his wife leaves him, David decides to move back to his home town, along with his son. They arrive, he finds out he has hundreds of dollars due on a Dr. Seuss book he got out from the library years ago (funny segment there), and he moves into his new home. David soon teaches school, where he finds out that an old bully of his, "Fang" (Tom Arnold), is teaching carving.
David gets scared, runs away from Big Bully (who seems to be nice now, and truly wants a friendship with the man) throughout the film, until, in a scary moment, he realizes "Fang" really is still a psycho, and the two men battle it out in the school, in ridiculous, childish gags and moments.
Alas, that's all the film is comprised of, with scattered--and very predictable--ideas involving romantic interests and such cliches. It's too bad--this was a decent premise to begin with.
"Big Bully" literally massacred Rick Moranis' career, and since then he has appeared in only a few "real" films--unless you count straight-to-video animated and live-action Disney-esque films real movies.
This is just hideous, a film to rival the bad qualities of "McHale's Navy" and "The Stupids." The movie is tolerable in an annoying sort of way until the climactic finale, which is so out of control and awful that it really just makes you want to throw up.
This is one bad movie. I can't imagine a worse result stemming from such a poor comedian mixed with such a great one. Rick Moranis should sue, and Tom Arnold should die. But that's just my opinion. I'm not going to be a bully about it, or anything.