6.6/10
13,271
155 user 56 critic

The Big Kahuna (1999)

R | | Drama, Comedy | 19 May 2000 (USA)
Trailer
1:37 | Trailer

Watch Now

From $3.99 (HD) on Prime Video

ON DISC
Two veteran salesmen dissect a sales pitch to a particular client, through their young protégé.

Director:

John Swanbeck

Writers:

Roger Rueff (play), Roger Rueff (screenplay)
1 nomination. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Learn more

More Like This 

Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A young, naive Hollywood studio assistant finally turns the tables on his incredibly abusive producer boss.

Director: George Huang
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Frank Whaley, Michelle Forbes
Hurlyburly (1998)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

Hollywood movers and shakers dissect their own personal lives when everything seems to clash together.

Director: Anthony Drazan
Stars: Sean Penn, Kevin Spacey, Chazz Palminteri
Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  

Brilliant, flamboyant master criminal Michael Lynch is more interested in his image and his posterity than the actual profit from his ill-gotten gains.

Director: Thaddeus O'Sullivan
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Linda Fiorentino, Peter Mullan
Casino Jack (2010)
Biography | Comedy | Crime
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  

A hot shot Washington DC lobbyist and his protégé go down hard as their schemes to peddle influence lead to corruption and murder.

Director: George Hickenlooper
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Barry Pepper, Jon Lovitz
Biography | Drama | Music
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

A swooning study of "Mack the Knife" singer Bobby Darin and specifically his relationship with wife Sandra Dee.

Director: Kevin Spacey
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman
Shrink (2009)
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Unable to cope with a recent personal tragedy, LA's top celebrity shrink turns into a pothead with no concern for his appearance and a creeping sense of his inability to help his patients.

Director: Jonas Pate
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Mark Webber, Keke Palmer
Big Kahuna (TV Series 2012)
Documentary
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 -/10 X  
The Ref (1994)
Comedy | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  

A cat burglar is forced to take a bickering, dysfunctional family hostage on Christmas Eve.

Director: Ted Demme
Stars: Denis Leary, Judy Davis, Kevin Spacey
Inseparable (2011)
Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.4/10 X  

A troubled young man, Li faces pressure at work and problems at home with his moody wife. Chuck, rescues Li from the brink of despair and becomes an unlikely mentor. But who is Chuck really?

Director: Dayyan Eng
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Daniel Wu, Beibi Gong
Crime | Drama | Mystery
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  

Richard and Priscilla Parker's lives take a turn for the better when Eddy and Kay move into the house next door. Eddy's a risk-taker and shows his new neighbours how to enjoy life at the ... See full summary »

Director: Alan J. Pakula
Stars: Kevin Kline, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Kevin Spacey
Comedy | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  

After 8 years in prison, inventor Robert Axle struggles to win over his estranged family and catch up on current technology as he works to once again become the king of the infomercial.

Director: Trent Cooper
Stars: Kevin Spacey, Camilla Belle, Heather Graham
Edit

Cast

Complete credited cast:
Kevin Spacey ... Larry Mann
Danny DeVito ... Phil Cooper (as Danny Devito)
Peter Facinelli ... Bob Walker
Paul Dawson ... Bellboy
Edit

Storyline

On the last evening of a convention two seen-it-all industrial lubricant salesmen and a youngster from the research department gather in the hotel's hospitality suite to host a delegates party. The main aim is to get the business of one particular big fish. When it becomes apparent that it is the lad who has developed a direct line to the guy, his strong religious beliefs bring him into sharp conflict with his older and more cynical colleagues. Written by Jeremy Perkins {J-26}

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Every sale begins with a smile.

Genres:

Drama | Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

19 May 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Hospitality Suite See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$80,957, 30 April 2000, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,150,107, 23 July 2000
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

The spoken word lyrics to "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen) Mix" used at the end of the movie and during the credits, released by Baz Luhrmann in 1999, were from a June 1, 1997 Chicago Tribune column titled "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young" by Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune columnist and long-time writer of the Brenda Starr, Reporter comic strip. The essay began with the admonition to wear sunscreen, and continued with discursive advice to the young for living well and without regret. In her introduction to the column, she described it as the commencement address she would give if she were asked to give one. (The column was widely circulated around the Internet, usually erroneously attributed to Kurt Vonnegut Jr..) The song was a number one hit in several countries (there are several versions: four of the song and two of the video). See more »

Goofs

When Larry attacks Bob he pushes him on a table with food and juice glasses. But when Bob gets up a moment later there are no stains on the back of his white shirt. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Phil Cooper: [voice-over] No answer.
Bob Walker: [voice-over] She must be out shopping.
Phil Cooper: [voice-over] God forbid.
See more »

Connections

References Glengarry Glen Ross (1992) See more »

Soundtracks

Binga Banga Bongo
Written by Terry Snyder
Performed by Terry Snyder & The All Stars
Courtesy of Capitol Records
Under license from EMI-Capitol Special Markets
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

thoughtful drama
21 September 2000 | by Buddy-51See all my reviews

Though essentially little more than a stage bound version of the play, `Hospitality Suite,' the film entitled `The Big Kahuna' earns distinction for its sharply delineated characters and the finely wrought performances of its three main actors. In fact, the stage origins of the film are evident in the fact that the action rarely extends beyond a single set – a hotel suite in Wichita, Kansas in which three salesman are gathered for a convention – and the fact that only four people are even assigned speaking parts (and even the fourth is a mere walk-on bellboy). All the other people we see serve as a kind of silent backdrop before which the three principal players enact their complex personal drama.

Kevin Spacey, in a truly brilliant performance, plays Larry, a middle-aged, sardonic salesman who sees life strictly from the perspective of a hardcore cynic and who, consequently, runs roughshod over his two business associates with his acerbic wit and hardnosed bluntness. In total contrast is Bob (Peter Facinelli), a 20-something neophyte to the selling business, a sincere, well-intentioned, but hopelessly naïve born-again Christian, who has trouble separating his career as a salesman from his felt need to fulfill the Biblical edict to go out among men and spread the Good News. Caught between the two is Phil (Danny DeVito), a 52-year old man who, after years of devoting his life to the cause of selling, has begun to seriously question the validity of his life's work and has, therefore, recently found himself contemplating such weighty matters as suicide, the existence of God and the meaning of love and friendship. Obviously, such cleanly delineated characters could well have slid over into two-dimensional stereotypes, yet the author, Roger Rueff, in adapting his play to the screen, has built into each of the three principal figures a dimension of multifaceted human complexity. Larry, for instance, despite all of his facile cynicism, shows a far deeper side to his character when, in a quiet moment in which Phil pours his heart out to him, he offers his buddy the hand of genuine compassion and friendship. We discover that the often-bitter tone Larry displays to the world is just a façade, a cover-up for the void that lies deep within his own troubled psyche. Similarly, Rueff avoids the common trap of reducing the devout Christian character to the customary level of a mindless buffoon. Although we sense that Bob too uses his Christianity as a way of ordering his life - thereby avoiding the messy ugliness that a more freethinking life often requires - yet, Rueff merely implies that Bob has some growing up to do, not that his belief system must itself be jettisoned. And Phil, caught between these two worldviews, provides, out of his own confused weakness, the voice of reasoned sanity that helps Larry and Bob come to a final understanding and mutual appreciation of each other. He sees Larry plainly for who he is, yet Phil knows that this is the person who means more to him than anyone else in the world. Similarly, though he somewhat admires and respects Bob's sincere devotion to his Christian principles, Phil knows that Bob has a long way to go before he becomes a true `man of character.'

`The Big Kahuna' does not provide big laughs, though the sardonic wit often strikes a deep chord in the audience. The film may also seem claustrophobic to those who demand more movement from their movies. The dialogue, however, is consistently sharp and incisive, even though Phil's final speech borders a bit on the pedantic. (At this point, Phil's function as the author's mouthpiece becomes a bit heavy-handed to say the least). Nevertheless, for those in search of a fine character study, driven by strong performances and insightful observations about human nature, `The Big Kahuna' is definitely worth checking out.


18 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 155 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed