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Movie Review

This run-of-the-mill crime caper distinguishes itself only by the amount of time it devotes to bare skin and the sensual thrill of thievery.

Jack is a footloose grifter who finds himself on the Hawaiian island of Oahu looking for odd jobs and scoping out the place for his next con. There, he hooks up with Nancy, a similarly minded opportunist who has wormed her way into the good graces of a local contractor (Ray Ritchie) by giving herself to him as a mistress. Naturally, Jack and Nancy quickly hatch a plan to take the guy for $200 grand.

Meanwhile, a crooked judge named Walter hires Jack as a handyman (it's not until the movie's final moments that you learn what his angle really is). And Bob Jr., one of Ray's henchmen, gets tangled up in Nancy's widening web of titillation. While audiences try to figure out who's got who on which strings, Jack and Nancy hop in the sack (usually someone else's) and scavenge for little bounces while they wait for the big one.

Positive Elements

Even Walter's altruistic bent for protecting Oahu's natural beauty proves suspect, so there's next to nothing specifically positive about The Big Bounce. Unless, that is, you count the various handyman repairs Jack performs for Walter.

Spiritual Content

"You've got to put your faith in people, not God," Jack urges Nancy. "He's just an imaginary friend for grownups." (It's the second time audiences hear that line. Jack's just repeating what Walter told him the day before.) Nancy utters a decidedly unspiritual "Thank you Jesus" on one occasion. A tough threatens Jack that they're going to soon have a "come-to-Jesus talk."

Sexual Content

Nancy seems to have learned a long time ago that all she has to do to make men do what she wants is throw around her sex appeal. She's seen sunbathing nude (on her stomach), and rarely wears more than what's legally required in Hawaii—not exactly a high standard of modesty. When she and Jack have sex, she's naked again, seen from the rear). Throughout the movie, other women appear clad in bikinis, towels and slinky apparel. Bending over in a tight, short skirt, Nancy flashes her underwear for the camera (later, she removes it from under the skirt to entice Jack).

While on a "date" with Jack, Nancy takes off her clothes and runs across the beach and into the surf. Jack follows suit (unlike her, he's only seen from the waist up). Later, still naked, they break into a house (the woman living there drives them away with a shotgun, instructing them to "get a room and a rubber"). On another occasion, after sneaking into another house, Jack and Nancy witness a police officer getting out of the shower with his gay lover (no nudity is shown).

Since Nancy is "with" Bob Jr. and Jack at the same time, it's inevitable that at least one scene find her juggling the two men at the same time. Downstairs, she plays around with Bob; upstairs she suggestively ties Jack's hands to the headboard. When Bob's wife finds out about his dalliances, Nancy jokes about inviting her to join them.

Violent Content

Gunplay includes a shot to the head (the man staggers off, nonetheless) and a thwarted assault by a shotgun-wielding thug. Jack slugs a man in the face with a baseball bat. A woman poisons her husband. Jack and Bob Jr. get into a fistfight which ends with Bob's nose gushing blood. A man rams Jack and Walter's SUV with his truck, after which Jack punches out the offender. A man tumbles down a flight of stairs. A dead body is dumped into the ocean.

Crude or Profane Language

One f-word and about 15 s-words. A crude slang term is used for sexual anatomy. Jesus' name is manhandled three times; God's nearly 10. Add in milder profanities and the total approaches 60.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Beer and hard liquor are just par for the course for these nonchalant criminals. Everyone drinks. One woman gets drunk. Walter smokes a pipe.

Other Negative Elements

A "bounce," as defined in this movie, is the adrenaline rush one gets when committing a crime such as breaking and entering, or grand theft auto. Jack and Nancy live on that feeling, and spend most of the movie pursuing it. They steal a car and take it for a joyride (as an act of sexual foreplay), break into numerous people's houses, and steal sundry items such as wallets and cell phones just for the kick of it. The pair also enjoy sneaking around and peeping in on people in their houses.

A harsh racial slur is directed at Jack. Jack and Nancy both make obscene gestures.


The cast has promise, but the script needs more than just a little work. By the time the "big twist" comes at the end, you won't much care who makes off with the money. Despite the fact that it's based on a book by celebrated novelist Elmore Leonard (the first film version was released in 1969), the point of The Big Bounce, ultimately, isn't character development, plot points, social commentary or even mystery and intrigue. It's merely to make crime look cool. Jack and Nancy are in love with the thrill anything illicit gives them and the filmmakers seem bent on sharing the wealth.

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Owen Wilson as Jack; Morgan Freeman as Walter; Sara Foster as Nancy; Gary Sinise as Ray Ritchie; Bebe Neuwirth as Alison Ritchie; Charlie Sheen as Bob Rogers, Jr.; Willie Nelson as Joe


George Armitage ( )


Warner Bros.



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Steven Isaac

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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