"The Big Bounce" appeared to be a sure thing - George Armitage was an inspired choice as director, having helmed the classic "Grosse Pointe Blank"; Owen Wilson sounded as if he'd be a perfect slacker hero, while the material was based upon an Elmore Leonard novel. The film itself never catches on the way that Armitage's "Grosse Pointe" did, as that film was somehow able to brush the line between comedy and thriller with a greater deal of wit and skill.
"Bounce" stars Owen Wilson as Jack Ryan, a surfer/slacker who has spent his life on the run from the problems he's largely created for himself - his two best pals are "bad luck" and "bad choices", according to one of the film's first lines. After taking a bat to the head of construction foreman Lou Harris (Vinnie Jones), Jack has a run-in with the law, including judge Walter Crewes (Morgan Freeman). When he gets a gig working on the judge's house, he meets up with Nancy Hayes (Sara Foster), a beautiful blonde who is manipulating Ray Ritchie (Gary Sinese) and his dimwitted partner, Bob Rogers Jr. (Charlie Sheen).
So starts up a series of double-crosses and twists, although the general tone of the film is light and easy-going; while Wilson's perfect for that role, the film tends to get a little bogged-down in the feeling that its all sort of inconsequential. Although newcomer Sara Foster is gorgeous, charming in a sly way and plays off Wilson well, the role doesn't give her a chance to show much range. Morgan Freeman seems to be having fun for the first time in ages in his role, while Gary Sinese once again shows he can play a good bad guy.
Technically, the film is perfectly pleasant, as Jeffrey Kimball's lovely cinematography takes in the beautiful Hawaiian landscape quite well. George S. Clinton's tropical score also adds nice flavor, as do the occasional instances of classic songs on the soundtrack.
Thanks to the decent performances from a talented cast, this remains watchable fare for the most part, but there's just not enough to the characters or story. When several stock shots of surfers exist for seemingly no other reason aside from padding out a movie that already runs only 88 minutes, one can get the idea that there isn't that much to this heist. Worth renting for fans of the actors, but there's little memorable about it.
VIDEO: "Big Bounce" is presented here in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. Likely aided by the fact that the film runs only 88 minutes, the picture quality is largely excellent. Sharpness and detail remained first-rate throughout the show, with the picture appearing consistently crisp and well-defined.
The picture wasn't entirely without a few minor issues, though: a little bit of compression artifacting was present in one of the surfing sequences, while a tiny bit of edge enhancement showed up in a few of the bright outdoor sequences. No print problems were noticed - the picture appeared clean and free of dirt, debris and other wear.
The film's color palette looked stellar here, as the film's bright, vivid tones appeared well-saturated and vibrant here, with no smearing or other problems.
SOUND: The film is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. The film's soundtrack provided a decent listening experience, with the surrounds used on occasion for some moderate ambience and a couple of minor sound effects. George S. Clinton's score (rather similar to his work on "Wild Things", at times)
EXTRAS: 3 short featurettes and the film's theatrical trailer.
Final Thoughts: Too lightweight for its own good, "Big Bounce" has actors that are willing to give the material a go, but the film really never adds up to anything much, and evaporates soon after viewing. Warner Brothers has provided a decent DVD, with fine audio/video and a couple of minor supplements. Rent it.