The Big Empty (2003)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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A guy looking for easy money gets a lot more than he bargained for in this noir-flavored independent comedy. John Person (Jon Favreau) is a struggling actor living in Los Angeles who is starting to buckle under the pressure of his own failures. With no acting jobs coming in and a massive credit card debt to pay off, John works part-time as a courier but needs a big payday if he's ever going to get back on his feet. Out of the blue, a strange man in the neighborhood makes John an offer that seems too good to be true -- in exchange for delivering a suitcase to a man in Baker, CA (midway between L.A. and Las Vegas), John will receive $27,000 in cash. John's first tip off that something odd is going on comes when, along with the suitcase, he's given a loaded gun and instructions to defend the package with his life if necessary, but he's just desperate enough to go along. However, things become more complicated when John misses his connection in Baker; he's suddenly followed by a number of threatening eccentrics, is informed by an FBI agent that his benefactor in L.A. has become the victim of a grisly murder, and incurs the wrath of Cowboy (Sean Bean), the ominous trucker who was supposed to pick up the suitcase. The Big Empty features a stellar supporting cast, including Kelsey Grammer, Melora Walters, Daryl Hannah, Joey Lauren Adams, and Rachael Leigh Cook.
R (for language and some sexual dialogue)
Action & Adventure , Comedy , Science Fiction & Fantasy
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Jon Favreau
as John Person
Bud Cort
as Neely
Daryl Hannah
as Stella
Kelsey Grammer
as Agent Banks
Jon Gries
as Elron
Gary Framer
as Indian Bob
Adam Beach
as Randy
Sean Bean
as Cowboy
Gary Farmer
as Indian Bob
Danny Trejo
as Lt. Gates
Jay Brothers
as Traveler
Sara Fouts
as Traveler
Patti Smith
as Traveler
Steven G. Kaplan
as Traveler
Show More Cast

Critic Reviews for The Big Empty

All Critics (7) | Top Critics (2)

The Big Empty is much more a romantic fable than Swingers, the singles comedy that established Favreau but has a similarly jovial, unpretentious charm.

November 20, 2003
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

More amiable than laugh-out-loud funny.

Full Review… | November 20, 2003
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

I found the sicko humor enjoyable enough.

Full Review… | May 1, 2010
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

If any film is destined to find a cult audience on DVD, it's The Big Empty.

May 2, 2004

Thanks to Favreau, even the film's most ridiculous detours carry a certain plausibility; he shines his indignities on and perseveres, and we can't help but sympathize.

Full Review… | December 3, 2003

Anderson squanders the setting's potential and a cast of indie-movie all-stars in his muddled and weak feature.

Full Review… | November 20, 2003
Las Vegas Weekly

Audience Reviews for The Big Empty


Odd and mysterious. Very bizarre. I didn't quite know what to make of it, but I liked it. (First and only viewing - 4/28/2013)

Adam R
Adam R

A quirky dark comedy that has slightly sinister fun with a bunch of familiar memes from SF and suspense thrillers. Well written; well acted; and well made.

David Duncan
David Duncan

A quirky alien abduction comedy thriller (when was the last time you saw one of those?), this film was full of "woowoo" moments. Great cast and beautiful location filming. Not great film, but a good story. Jon Favreau plays a down-on-his-luck everyman who gets caught up in intrigue in order to clear his debts and start over. In the process, he proves himself to be a man of good character who winds up with the girl. And what is wrong with that? Entertainment, pure and simple.

Mark Abell
Mark Abell

Super Reviewer

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