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Movie Mom

“Big Bounce” wants to be comic caper movie, but the real crime is inflicted on the Elmore Leonard book credited with inspiring it.

You can tell that somewhere in there there is a book with colorful characters and a couple of lines of dialogue that crackle. There is some evidence that there was an actual plot of some kind. At some point. But not now.

What passes for plot looks something like this. Sticky-fingered surf bum Jack Ryan (Owen Wilson) loses his job for bashing the boss with a baseball bat. He gets a new job as a sort of handyman for some bungalows owned by Judge Crewes (Morgan Freeman, adding a little class). He meets a beautiful woman named Nancy (Sara Foster) who has a weakness for men who have a weakness, and the next thing you know everyone is trying to double cross everyone else over $250,000 in cash. It is is supposed to be used to pay some goons to beat up the people who are protesting a development owned by a mean guy who happens also to have Nancy as a girlfriend. But Nancy wants Jack to steal it. “All you have to do,” she purrs, “is walk in poor and walk out rich.”

Wilson, who always looks like a surf bum in whatever part he is playing, finally gets to play a surf bum and is surprisingly uninteresting in the part. Foster has some spirit and Freeman’s bemused spin makes his lines feel fresh. But the movie feels recut by people who weren’t sure what tone they were trying for, and the result is just bland.

Parents should know that the material in this movie is pretty intense for a PG-13, with strong language, sexual references and situations (including making fun of a gay character), drinking, smoking, violence, and general bad behavior by just about everyone.

Families who see this movie should talk about whether anyone in this movie trusted anyone else, and if so, how. What will happen to Jack, Nancy, and Crewes after the movie ends?

Families who enjoy this movie will enjoy better movies based on Elmore Leonard books, Out of Sight and Get Shorty.

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