Saturday, February 07, 2004

The Big Bounce (IMDB) (Netflix)
Owen Wilson is a nice-guy petty thief with an irresistible broken nose, who starts hanging with bad girl Sara Foster, mistress of a rich sleazeball (Gary Sinise). There's a judge (Morgan Freeman) who's got something cooking on the side, and Charlie Sheen is now (finally!) playing character parts. Most of the movie consists of Foster trying to get Wilson to come in on the scam. The latest movie based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, the Philip K. Dick of crime.

This is the most affable crime film in years, which helps, because it's as leisurely as its Hawaiian setting, and constructed like a Tiki hut built by Cub Scouts. Everyone and everything, including the plot, just ambles along, and even the climax onlyraises the pulse by maybe ten points. Wilson's beachcombing hipster persona is on the money, his slightly whiny when-will-the-other-one-drop voice giving him the boyish charm to slide through the rough spots. Unlike Animal House, which just got added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, this won't win any awards, but it's a stress-free 90 minutes of sly humor.