Big

Don Ignacio Clazzek

Week of November 25 - December 1, 2001

Here is a film that is not considered "great" in any context except in "great fun."

Penny Marshall directs this highly enjoyable comedy about a thirteen-year-old boy, Josh Baskin, who puts a quarter in a mysterious carnival machine named "Zoltar." When the "Zoltar" machine asks Josh to make a wish, he wishes to be big. The next morning -- whammo! -- he turns into Tom Hanks. (I guess Zoltar turned Josh into a big movie star too!) When grown-up Josh tries to approach his mother, she throws her purse at him and threatens him with a kitchen knife. (Doh!) So Josh must now fend for himself in the real world. Well, I guess it isn't THAT bad. After all, he gets a nice job at a toy company! (Woohoo!)

I am happy to report that "Big" is about as fun as a movie can get! Most of the jokes revolve around Tom Hanks's na´ve and immature mindset in the real world and most of these jokes are really quite funny. However, none of this would have worked had it not been for Tom Hanks who turns in what is certainly one of his best comedic performances.

The supporting cast consisting of some famous faces, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jon Lovitz, and Mercedes Ruehl, who give good performances all around (they're nothing to write home about). The immature actor Jared Ruston, as Hanks's best friend, gives a surprisingly strong comedic performance despite his age.

This is certainly not a believable flick even after you get past the Zoltar thing. Had this really happened to a boy, the events that this movie portrays are simply too unlikely to be believable (it's highly doubtful a thirteen-year-old turned thirty-year-old would become a successful vice president of a toy company and make enough money to rent an apartment full of neat-o toys well within one month!) Although, does it really matter? I doubt director Penny Marshall was shooting for anything beyond dumb fun with this flick and in that context, "Big" is a big success.

I am also happy with the fact that this film doesn't contain sickeningly sappy scenes or really any type of sentimentality even though there was ample opportunity for it. This movie is pure comedy (with only a smidgeon of romance) and it's because of that, I enjoyed it immensely!

FINAL VERDICT: A-

This isn't a perfect film by any means. However, the funny jokes, the amusing premise, and Tom Hanks's grand comedic performance makes "Big" a blast!

Movie reviewed by Michael Lawrence

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History:

Released: June 3, 1988

Domestic Gross: $114,968,000

Academy Awards Nominations: Best Actor (Tom Hanks), Best Original Screenplay

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Full Cast:

Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jared Rushton, David Moscow, Jon Lovitz, Mercedes Ruehl, Josh Clark, Kimberlee M. Davis, Oliver Block, Erica Katz, Allan Wasserman, Mark Ballou, Gary Klar

Directed by:

Penny Marshall

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1988 comedy

Rated PG.

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Don Ignacio's score: A-

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