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The Big Kahuna

The Big Kahuna (2000)



Average Rating: 6.3/10
Critic Reviews: 23
Fresh: 15 | Rotten: 8

Wonderful adaptation of the stage play.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.4/5
User Ratings: 7,982

My Rating

Movie Info

Three salesmen working for a firm that makes industrial lubricants are waiting in the company's "hospitality suite" at a manufacturers' convention for a "big kahuna" named Dick Fuller to show up, in hopes they can persuade him to place an order that could salvage the company's flagging sales. Phil (Danny DeVito) is in his mid-50s; he's devoted his life to his job but emotionally has little to show for it. He's learned to live with the loneliness of a salesman's life, but is smarting over the


Drama, Comedy

Roger Rueff

Aug 29, 2000

Lions Gate Films - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (95) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (56) | Rotten (20) | DVD (9)

You probably don't need to run out to a theater to see The Big Kahuna.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop Critic

It's no meal, but it'll tide you over.

January 1, 2000
Boston Globe
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sometimes good, or even almost-great acting, isn't enough.

January 1, 2000
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Sharp-edged, perfectly timed, funny and thoughtful.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Spacey and DeVito are at the top of their game.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Giving actors a chance to act seems to be the point...

January 2, 2005 Full Review Source: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

At our best, we admit our faults. And we admit that others, no matter how different, have something to teach us. What a surprising thing to learn from a film.

December 6, 2004
Looking Closer

...worth watching just for the performances...

August 1, 2003 Full Review Source: Reel Film Reviews
Reel Film Reviews

You get the feeling that The Big Kahuna would be great in-the-round theater, its ambiguous machinations benefiting from feeding off of a live audience. As filmed, however, it's just three characters waiting for a story.

July 18, 2003 Full Review Source: Entertainment Today
Entertainment Today

Depicts how the ardent Christian faith of a true believer compels his two associates to probe their own ideas and ideals.

August 21, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

There's nothing actively wrong with The Big Kahuna, it simply feels more appropriate at a community theatre rather than the local multiplex.

October 24, 2001 Full Review Source: Flipside Movie Emporium
Flipside Movie Emporium

Yes, it feels like a stage play, but it's a pretty interesting stage play.

October 10, 2001 Full Review Source:

Support this kind of filmmaking.

June 15, 2001 Full Review

The Big Kahuna sells itself beautifully.

January 1, 2000
St. Paul Pioneer Press

Most films would quickly become stuffy with this limiting approach, but it is a tribute to the sharpness of the acting and the dialog that The Big Kahuna rarely does.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Internet Reviews
Internet Reviews

The only problem with the film, is that it's more of a play than a cinematic experience.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

[Danny DeVito] has never been better than he is here.

January 1, 2000
Winnipeg Sun

John Swanbeck has made a notable debut with The Big Kahuna.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

Not exactly the most promising jumping-off point for an exciting, thought-provoking drama, but that's exactly what the film evolves into.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

If talk really is cheap, then The Big Kahuna must be one of the most inexpensive films ever made.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Deseret News, Salt Lake City
Deseret News, Salt Lake City

In the end, The Big Kahuna seems content to ride on the coattails of great works in this genre.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Citysearch

Audience Reviews for The Big Kahuna

Larry Mann: Did you mention perhaps what line of industrial lubricants Jesus would have endorsed? 

"Every sale begins with a smile."

The Big Kahuna is one of those one room, all dialogue movies. If you can't take a lot of conversation in movies, this is definitely not for you. That's all it is. Three guys in a hospitality room at a hotel talking. They are salesmen for industrial lubricants and they are having a convention in which they will try to land a big time client. 

Two of the three are veterans, the third is a young newbie to the scene. The young one is also a religious man who let's his views on Jesus show more than his views on salesmanship. There's no real plot to be seen in The Big Kahuna. There's ideas and there's a lot of good dialogue, but not real plot. That isn't necessarily a bad thing either. I like movies like this as long as they can find a way to be entertaining. 

I liked The Big Kahuna enough. Kevin Spacey is terrific in roles like this where he can talk a lot and on occasion scream. He's definitely the selling point for the whole film. Add Danny Devito to the mix and everything gets a little more interesting, even though there's not that much going on that I'd consider interesting. 
March 18, 2012
Melvin White

Super Reviewer

Wonderful! A simple and terrific film that is very well written and bring three good actors. Fresh.
February 11, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

I dont get it! Like its a good movie if you base it on Spaceys an Devitos acting and the fact it is wel written in the comedy part wth a few really good laugh out loud moments and the story is ok i understand there after a big sale but i dont understand why a guy whose really religious would ignore his job and talk about religion ? it just started to irritate me, i mean yes the story is good but i just dont see the point in the religious freak who thinks its more important to speak and spread thje word of god rather than try and get this sale by talking about lubricant which is his job! i just dont get it !
Apart from that its a funny movie but nothing more!
November 30, 2009
Film Crazy

Super Reviewer

Well written and acted dialogue-driven film, something rare these days, about the dog-eats-dog world of big company business. It does get preachy towards the end, and way too religious, but it's still an enjoyable ride. With the 3 leads very spot on in their roles.
October 1, 2007
Tsubaki Sanjuro

Super Reviewer

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