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David Leary was bullied by Rosco when he was in elementary school. But he got even on the day his parents moved out of town. Now twenty years later, David, who is a successful writer, is invited back to his home town to teach. Everything is great until Rosco, who is still in town, recognizes him. Now suddenly someone is playing mean practical jokes on him. Isn't David a little too old to be running to the Principal saying "Rosco's picking on me." ? Written by
Brian W Martz <B.Martz@Genie.com>
Every so often Hollywood takes a serious theme like murder or bullying and tries to make light of it. When that attempt gropes toward the inner pain of dark comedy, the film may have merit. Yet when the focus is on cheap non laughs surrounded by a total disregard for substance, logic, and human decency, the result is most often a bloated, turgid mess like BIG BULLY.
Director Steven Miner wastes the limited talents of all concerned. Rick Moranis is a weedy, nerdy little man who has to relive the trauma of childhood bullying by beefy Tom Arnold. As the film opens, both Moranis and Arnold are in the fourth grade. Arnold plays a blubbery bully that one sometimes sees in a filmed version of a Steven King horror movie. But in the hands of a King based script, the bully is a source of unredeemed evil. Here, under Miner's unsure grasp, Arnold is no more than a walking tub of prepubescent lard who seeks to bully the nerdy Moranis. Now if Miner had tried to make a serious movie about childhood bullying, then BIG BULLY might have had something worthwhile to say about the angst of childhood insecurities.
Now flash forward twenty years. Moranis and Arnold are both teachers in the same grammar school, and Arnold quickly reverts to the bully that he was. What makes this regression reprehensible is Arnold's justification that as a victim, Moranis thoroughly deserved his fate. What then follows is a ridiculous chase scene between prey and predator that offers no lasting insight into either demented personality. Julianne Phillips is a wasted toss in as Moranis' girlfriend. At the end, when director Miner seeks closure, the film ends in the uneasiest of endings, one that satisfied neither the desire for revenge nor one that offers justification for that revenge in the first place.
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