6.6/10
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157 user 56 critic

The Big Kahuna (1999)

R | | Drama, Comedy | 19 May 2000 (USA)
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ON DISC
Two veteran salesmen dissect a sales pitch to a particular client, through their young protégé.

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

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
... Larry Mann
... Phil Cooper (as Danny Devito)
... Bob Walker
... Bellboy
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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 <jwp@aber.ac.uk>

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:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

19 May 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Hospitality Suite  »

Filming Locations:

 »

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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  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

First (and as of 2014) and only film directed by John Swanbeck. 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

Hey Pachuco!
Written by Eddie Nichols, James Achor & Mando Dorame
Performed by Royal Crown Revue
Published by Zip Gun Music, J. Achor Music & Dorame Music
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Records Inc.
By arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A bang-on, unbelievably good script executed by some of the finest actors around
21 September 1999 | by See all my reviews

"The Big Kahuna" proved to be one of the finest offerings that I was privy to at the Toronto International Film Festival this year. The expression "saving the best for last" applies strongly to this film. We were fortunate to have a Q&A after the film with Roger Rueff, the screenwriter of this eloquently written piece, John Swanbeck, the director enjoying all that a first timer could hope for from his debut, and the gifted actor Kevin Spacey, who starred in and produced the film.

This marvellous examination of three men of different age groups at a convention in Wichita also features the talents of Danny DeVito who apparently came to the production in the proverbial last minute. This film was shot in a very short sixteen days which comes as a surprise, despite it's one central location, as the dialogue is so strong. The best way to describe it is as almost poetic.

The script was adapted from the play "Hospitality Suite", also written by Rueff, who revealed in the Q&A that the story was based upon his own experiences at a sales convention long ago. But he assured us that his character of the young, impressionable, bible thumping "Bob" was not based on himself. Rueff also noted that with this being his first screenplay, he had worried about the horror stories he heard where scripts are butchered and transformed into things the writer never intended in many Hollywood productions. But in this case, he trusted the director and cast implicitly and was not disappointed in any way.

Kevin Spacey shines in this sneak peak behind the scenes of a sales convention where the future of a company lies squarely on the shoulders of three men in the pursuit of a big client. The president of another company represents the biggest potential account they will ever have. They exchange stories, accounts and personal philosophies and find how different they are from one another based on what they've been through.

The interaction between the three actors is mesmerizing. They take the audience into what feels like a true life account documented verbatim. To say more would spoil the outcome for those who've not yet had a chance to enjoy this film. It is my strong recommendation that all of those who have not, do so at their first available opportunity.


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