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The Big Bounce
2004 - PG-13 - 106 Mins.
Director: George Armitage
Producer: George Armitage
Written By: Sebastian Guttierez
Starring: Owen Wilson, Sarah Foster, Morgan Freeman, Gary Sinise, Vinnie Jones
Review by: Greg Ursic

See that? There goes my hope of ever resurrecting my career again after this flop.
Jack Ryan (Owen Wilson) is not exactly what you would consider motivated - it has too many syllable for his liking. While not averse to petty crime, he’ll probably pick up money that’s left lying within reach, but isn’t about to waste time or energy looking for it. He just wants to do a Joe job, ride the surf and catch a little peace in paradise. But when he KO’s his boss, he pops up on everybody’s radar: Walter (Morgan Freeman), the local judge, takes Jack under his wing, offering him advice, a job and place to stay, while Ray Ritchie, a sleazy developer and Jack’s former employer, wants him to disappear. And then there’s Nancy (Sarah Foster), the stunning thrill seeker with a nose for trouble, an eye for Jack, and a larcenous heart.

Why someone decided to do a remake of a film that wasn’t very good the first time around (Ryan O’Neal, 1969) is one of those mysteries that only Hollywood could answer. It’s possible that someone felt that there was a story to be told that was left out the first time around, or maybe they felt it was a concept that was way ahead of itself. Or maybe we’ve finally reached the point where all semblance of creativity has been sucked out of Hollywood, and replaced by a bunch of repetitive talentless hacks who rely on late-night reruns for flashes of “inspiration”. My money’s on the latter…

Everything about Owen Wilson screams slacker – he moves slow, talks low and always seems like he’s in a bit of a daze, which makes Jack the perfect character for him. Wilson’s oh-gosh approach and languorous delivery infuse some much needed humor into the script and he makes Jack a lovable cad that you want to root for. You also realize that his good nature is going to get the best of him. Nancy’s dialogue is even more thread bare which means that Sarah Foster has to communicate in other ways – thankfully she is a tantalizing morsel who can say volumes with a sashay and a wink. The rest of the supporting cast are not so lucky.

Gary Sinise’s Ray, the supposed villain of the piece, is a single dimensional character who doesn’t get enough time onscreen for the audience to dislike him never mind earn their hate. Walter., through no fault of Morgan Freeman’s, is supposed to be mysterious, but comes off as hopelessly clueless due to ineffectual writing. Other than a great one-liner that plays off her real name Bebe Neuwirth is relegated to spending virtually every scene in a drunken fugue state stumbling around like a buffoon. It’s criminal..

Beautiful scenery (take your pick), punchy surfing sequences a spunky soundtrack, and few guffaws can’t make up for lifeless dialogue, poorly written characters, and a transparent plot. A $.99 video rental on a rainy day when your cable’s out, your chequebook is balanced and the dustings done. Or you could always take a nap and come up with a better plot...
Movie Guru Rating
Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable. Bland, boring, inept. Forgettable.
  1.5 out of 5 stars

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