The Big Lebowski is the definitive answer to skeptics like me who wondered if Fargo was the fluke, and sort-of-okay flicks like The Hudsucker Proxy were more the norm for the Coen brothers. They undoubtedly are. In The Big Lebowski, the Coens had the world to play with as a palette. What they delivered is a wreck.
The story, what little there is of one, follows Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski (Bridges), a bum/amateur bowler who gets caught up in a kidnapping-gone-wrong scheme involving a millionaire who happens to have the same name. Promising premise (even if it sounds familiar...), but the story is totally blown on one-dimensional goofball characters, blind side plots that go nowhere, and a meandering plotline that barely keeps you awake.
Sure, with characters like Goodman's Vietnam vet/wacked-out bowling buddy, Moore's new age "vaginal" artist, and, most memorably, John Turturro's minuscule role as Jesus, the most flamboyant bowler alive, there is plenty to be amused by in the film, and sometimes it's absolutely riotous. But the laughs are hollow... because the story just sits there like a 7-10 split.
I wish the Coens the best, but they're going to have to do better than this. I know they can.
Run time: 117 mins
In Theaters: Friday 6th March 1998
Box Office Worldwide: $27.7M
Distributed by: Gramercy Pictures
Production compaines: PolyGram Filmed Entertainment, Working Title Films
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
Fresh: 69 Rotten: 17
IMDB: 8.2 / 10
Director: Joel Coen
Producer: Ethan Coen
Starring: Jeff Bridges as Jeffrey Lebowski, John Goodman as Walter Sobchak, Steve Buscemi as Theodore Donald Kerabatsos, Julianne Moore as Maude Lebowski, David Huddleston as Jeffrey Lebowski - The Big Lebowski, Philip Seymour Hoffman as Brandt, Tara Reid as Bunny Lebowski, Philip Moon as Woo, Treehorn Thug, Mark Pellegrino as Blond Treehorn Thug, Peter Stormare as Nihilist #1, Uli Kunkel/'Karl Hungus', Michael Peter Balzary as Nihilist #2, Kieffer, Torsten Voges as Nihilist #3, Franz, Jimmie Dale Gilmore as Smokey, Jack Kehler as Marty, John Turturro as Jesus Quintana, James G. Hoosier as Liam O'Brien, Quintana's Partner, Ben Gazzara as Jackie Treehorn, Sam Elliott as The Stranger
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