“the big kahuna” film review


I watched this movie on a whim. I couldn’t remember who or why this movie felt suggested to me, but since there was a curiosity, I decided to check it out. I’m glad that I did.

I feel like this is one of those movies very few people would watch or be into, only because on the surface of the movie, let alone the plot line or premise, it’s hard to figure out exactly what this film is about. Or you might be watching it waiting for something to happen and missing the point entirely.

Fortunately, I feel alerted to films like this when I catch words or names that suggest the film I’m about to watch was adapted from a stageplay, like this one was. Plays are great ways to deal with stories that reply strongly on heavy dialouge like this film is. Don’t get me wrong, some things do happen and it pays off in a good way.

But let me back up… the movie is about a group of sales reps. I found myself realizing what they were selling wasn’t all that important to the plot. But I’ll get to that in a second. There are two veteran reps, expertly played by Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito (which makes me wonder why they don’t have Oscars for these roles) and a newbie rep who is recognized these days as head of the Cullen pack in Twilight. I know I’m not really describing his character correctly, but that’s not all that important either. The two main reps are putting on a function to get some new clients and they are looking for one in particular before the evening is over. Turns out they might have an in with “the big kahuna” when they learn about the rookie, who happens to be a strict Christian. That part is important to the story.

What happens from the start to the end is a discovery about honesty, regret, and what makes someone human. It’s a lot more than that, actually. In fact, writing a mere review isn’t giving this film the justice or the debate it’s calling for.

What I can do with review is continue to praise the awesome acting of both Spacey and DeVito… both actors I’ve learned to respect more and more with each movie I see them in. Yes, even Batman Returns.

I’ve read that this film can be compared to one I haven’t yet seen called Glengarry Glen Ross, which has a heavy monologue delivered by Alec Baldwin. Another great and famous monologue is by Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men which doesn’t make that much sense without seeing the whole movie to get the full context of what he’s saying and why he’s saying it. The same goes for this movie and DeVito’s ending monologue, which I’ll post, even though it’ll be out of context.

One last movie I’d like to throw out there… if you liked this movie, you may like Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I believe that film was also based on a play, but it also deals with some heavy topics. Or at least one really heavy topic realized by the end of the film. But it’s also a film that takes place in the span of a single day. Maybe a whole 24 hours or less, or at least The Big Kahuna did.

As for ratings go, it’s rated R for language. Whether you want your kids around or not, I’m pretty sure they won’t be interested to care what’s going on. I can already imagine adults who wouldn’t care. But if you want to see a film with stellar acting and great discussion, I suggest checking this out. I still need to process this film for myself… as I recess into deep thought mode.

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One comment on ““the big kahuna” film review
  1. […] other thing that pointed me to this movie was The Big Kahuna, which is another movie about a very in depth conversation. I won’t get into talking about […]

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