Big Trouble (review)

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Love Tim Allen, much to my own chagrin. Love Janeane Garofalo. Love Jason Lee. Love Rene Russo. Adore Patrick Warburton. Afraid of Tom Sizemore. Love Barry Sonnenfeld, when he’s on. (When he’s off, it’s Wild Wild West time, which is too horrifying to contemplate.) So this slight tale loosely spun out of barely interconnected character sketches — of Russian arms dealers, idiot petty thieves, swaggering cops, befuddled Dave Barry stand-ins, and mismatched romantic couples — should be moderately amusing, and it is, for the most part. It would have been a diverting night at the movies — and an excellent video rental — back in, say, July 2001. But it’s a sign of how much we’ve changed as a culture that what would have been absurd good fun this time last year is now disturbing and worse than unfunny. That Big Trouble culminates in the biggest morons on the planet strolling through airport security with a nuclear bomb — and arming it right at the metal detector — is bad enough, and uncomfortable enough. What’s worse, though, is that the suspension of Constitutionally guaranteed rights, depicted with off-the-cuff comic abandon by two FBI agents, is played for laughs, as if to say: “This is the most ridiculous thing we could come up with.” From the other side of the looking-glass, this is like a punch in the gut.

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