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The Big Bounce (2004)



Average Rating: 4.1/10
Reviews Counted: 134
Fresh: 21 | Rotten: 113

Lazily crafted and light on substance, The Big Bounce takes few chances and strands its promising cast in a subpar adaptation that fails to do its source material justice.


Average Rating: 3.9/10
Critic Reviews: 37
Fresh: 5 | Rotten: 32

Lazily crafted and light on substance, The Big Bounce takes few chances and strands its promising cast in a subpar adaptation that fails to do its source material justice.



liked it
Average Rating: 2.5/5
User Ratings: 21,109

My Rating

Movie Info

George Armitage directs this big-screen adaptation of Elmore Leonard's The Big Bounce. Jack Ryan (Owen Wilson) is an occasional thief who tends to a judge (Morgan Freeman). A woman involved with Ray Ritchie (Gary Sinese), a real estate developer of questionable ethics, seduces Jack. Ritchie and the judge are old enemies, complicating Jack's moral dilemma when the girls asks Jack to help her double-cross Ritchie. The book was adapted once before with Ryan O'Neal in the Owen Wilson role. ~ Perry


Drama, Action & Adventure, Comedy

Sebastian Gutierrez

Jul 20, 2004


Warner Bros. Pictures - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (142) | Top Critics (41) | Fresh (21) | Rotten (113) | DVD (23)

Newcomer Foster cites Lauren Bacall as a precursor, but her ingénue fatale is more like a lost Olsen triplet.

February 3, 2004 Full Review Source: Village Voice
Village Voice
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Everything here is too mild, too sloppy.

January 31, 2004 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The story has been so poked and prodded and spun around it barely knows how to end.

January 31, 2004 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Boring, unsexy, styleless, sluggish and physically ugly.

January 30, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Insipid potboiler set against the far more enticing surf and sand of Oahu's North Shore.

January 30, 2004
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Given a choice between shovelling my driveway or going to see The Big Bounce again, I would choose the driveway.

January 30, 2004 Full Review Source: Toronto Star
Toronto Star
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Missing: this movie's plot.

December 28, 2010 Full Review Source: Common Sense Media
Common Sense Media

Not a bad film, despite what you may have heard, but there is no doubt it should have been a lot better.

February 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Laramie Movie Scope
Laramie Movie Scope

With gorgeous Hawaiian cinematography, a charming Owen Wilson, and a clever script, I found it eminently enjoyable.

October 7, 2004 Full Review Source:

This movie is all looks and no brains.

July 25, 2004 Full Review Source: Movie Metropolis
Movie Metropolis

It's sexy, offbeat fun for the most part, but it's way too laid-back for its own good and, in the end, obstinately refuses to be anything more than the sum of its highly promising parts.

May 14, 2004 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine
Empire Magazine

Yet another screen adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel, but this one just doesn't work.

March 26, 2004 Full Review
Spirituality and Practice

Never comes together into anything remotely interesting.

March 16, 2004 Full Review Source: Shadows on the Wall
Shadows on the Wall

...a dead zone of monstrous proportions that warrants nothing but yawns and groans for all 89 minutes it takes up the screen.

February 27, 2004 Full Review Source:

Despite some inspired casting and a photogenic Hawaiian backdrop, director George Armitage can't imbue the tale with Leonard's unique balance of wit and tension.

February 23, 2004 Full Review Source: Nitrate Online
Nitrate Online

It tends to be bouncy in that flippant, rhythmic attitude, the winkingly self-assuredness so prevalent in the actual assuredness of Get Shorty.

February 21, 2004 Full Review Source:

glides along on the humor of its characters and the inherent intrigue created whenever multiple characters with multiple agendas all appear to be going after the same thing

February 15, 2004 Full Review Source: Q Network Film Desk
Q Network Film Desk

After sitting through this, you'll need a vacation, too.

February 14, 2004 Full Review
Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)

When the best thing you can say about a movie is that a handful of actors manage to salvage it from time to time, you're not exactly talking about a great piece of filmmaking.

February 14, 2004 Full Review Source:

Adaptation of Elmore Leonard novel doesn't have much rebound at all, despite a big-name cast.

February 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Netflix

Owen Wilson, Charlie Sheen and newcomer Sara Foster are all wrong for Elmore Leonard characters.

February 13, 2004 Full Review Source: Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)

...Nothing matters much in this Elmore Leonard adaptation as the sight of budding starlet Sara Foster in various states of undress.

February 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Boulder Weekly

Comfortable and familiar, like a good friend telling a joke you've heard before. Weightless, diverting fun for those who simply must catch at least one movie a week.

February 9, 2004 Full Review Source: Entertainment Today
Entertainment Today

Best approached as a Come to Hawaii advertisement with a wisecracking Wilson as your happy tour guide.

February 5, 2004 Full Review Source: City Pages, Minneapolis/St. Paul

Couldn't be any less like its title, as the mix of quirks, crime and comedy... comes off as labored and largely unfunny.

February 5, 2004 Full Review Source:

...they'll be plenty of seats...

February 4, 2004 Full Review
Talking Pictures (U.S.)

Audience Reviews for The Big Bounce

This is a great movie that is always fun to watch. The plot is great, the characters are really fun to watch and the Hawaii backdrop is a nice touch. Owen Wilson, to me, is always funny and this was no exception. I really like the comedy approach to noir, for some reason it just really works.
December 2, 2010

Super Reviewer

Its an ok light hearted funy film a bit pointless but its ok
really though this film just seems like everyones conning everyone and then gary sinines has the most smallest part that it was pointless having him in the movie which a was disappointed about!!
April 29, 2009
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Frank: I'm desperate for this money and we're friend, right?
Jack Ryan: Yeah, we're friends. But, you know, it's the type of friendship where if you're in trouble, I probably won't be there for you. Just like I wouldn't expect you to be there for me. It's a more honest friendship. It's not this like phony thing. It's a genuine friendship. I can't trust you. You can't trust me. I'm not gonna take a bullet for you. I'm not gonna jump on a grenade for you.

A laid back con caper/comedy. I wanna use the phrase surfer noir (I should save it for a better movie, but when will I get another chance). And of course it's laid back, it takes place in Hawaii.

Lou Harris: You wanna piss with me?
Jack Ryan: I don't even understand what you're saying. Do I wanna piss with you?

Based off a book by Elmore Leonard, Owen Wilson stars as Jack Ryan, a small-time con artist living in Hawaii. After causing some trouble with a local boss, Gary Sinese, he is fired from a job and makes his way under the eyes of a judge/hotel manager, Morgan Freeman.

Jack also meets the local hottie/con artist Nancy, played by Sara Foster. The two form a relationship of sorts, with Jack showing her some conning. The movie drifts along developing a small caper plot involving some money and twists, before reaching the final ending twist.

Nancy Hayes: Jack, what do you think will happen if that money reaches those thugs.
Jack Ryan: I don't know. They'll probably have a hell of a luau.
Nancy Hayes: I mean to Walter!
Jack Ryan: We'll probably get invited.

The dialog is nice and sharp of course because it is from another book by Elmore Leonard. The Hawaii aspect is also effective because it doesn't just show the same old sights, it does a good job of going to different places. The cast is also in a laid back mode and it's just kind of nice.

It may not ever be seen as a great or memorable movie, but I have a good time watching it.

Bob Rogers, Jr.: You trying to be cute?
Walter Crewes: Now, Junior, who can be cute with you around?
Bob Rogers, Jr.: This is company business, Walter.
Walter Crewes: Does he work for you?
Bob Rogers, Jr.: No, but we paid him off and he agreed to leave.
Walter Crewes: You paid him off because you owed him. Now he doesn't work for you anymore. Right? Right. So if he doesn't want to go anywhere, he doesn't have to. Right? Right.
Jack Ryan: Right.
Bob Rogers, Jr.: You gonna let him fight your battles for you?
Jack Ryan: Yeah. He seems to be doing a good job.
June 4, 2008

Super Reviewer

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