BIG BOUNCE, THE

PG-13
Reviews

The Big Bounce is nothing special, but, considering the bitter weather back east, this made-in-Hawaii noir makes a pretty good surrogate vacation. Luscious shots of sun-drenched beaches and turquoise and sapphire surf abound, inviting you to book the next flight to paradise. Surfer/con man Jack Ryan (Owen Wilson) becomes involved with a danger-loving babe, Nancy (Sara Foster), who's the mistress of a nasty real-estate tycoon (Gary Sinise). The tycoon has a fat wad of cash they want to scam, but it isn't always clear who's scamming whom.

Based on an Elmore Leonard novel that was previously filmed in 1969 with Ryan O'Neal, this is essentially a shaggy-dog tale, relaxed, affable and harmless, that goes down as easily as a Mai Tai. The cinematography and lava lamp-laden production design are creamily handsome. The entire cast appears to be having such a wonderful time that their good spirits are infectious. Wilson is perfectly cast as a sun-and-babe-dazed slacker, and he works up a fun, sexy chemistry with Foster (who makes a spectacular bikini-clad entrance, strolling along the pounding shore). Morgan Freeman, Charlie Sheen and Bebe Neuwirth (who here looks exactly like drag artiste Charles Busch) lend their no-flies-on-me comic skills. In one scene, Willie Nelson and Harry Dean Stanton pop up as domino-playing buddies of Freeman, and further add to the overall geniality. But Hawaii is the real star of the film, so incessantly gorgeous that when you see a protest group of Native Hawaiians demanding their land back, you can only sympathize in the deepest way.

-David Noh