The Big Kahuna


The Big Kahuna

Critics Consensus

Wonderful adaptation of the stage play.



Total Count: 78


Audience Score

User Ratings: 8,169
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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 recent collapse of his marriage and is trying to quit drinking. Bob (Peter Facinelli) is a quiet but observant newcomer in his 20s, recently married and adjusting to his first business trip. And Larry (Kevin Spacey) is a bundle of energy who likes to drink, smoke, and start arguments; he's openly confrontational with Phil and Bob and quick to pick up on their foibles and failings. Phil and Larry become more impatient and bitter as the evening wears on, especially when they learn that "the big kahuna" already dropped by the suite; wearing someone else's name tag, he had a few drinks, talked with Bob about the recent death of his dog and Christianity, and never mentioned placing an order. Screenwriter Roger Rueff based the script on his play +Hospitality Suite; Kevin Spacey was a co-producer as well as starring as Larry.

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Kevin Spacey
as Larry Mann
Danny DeVito
as Phil Cooper
Peter Facinelli
as Bob Walker
Paul Dawson
as Bellhop

Critic Reviews for The Big Kahuna

All Critics (78) | Top Critics (26) | Fresh (57) | Rotten (21)

Audience Reviews for The Big Kahuna

  • Mar 15, 2017
    Reminded me a ton of Glengarry Glen Ross. I lost power before I could finish this (so this review isn't totally fair), but the premise was too full of holes, the story was too slow, the dialogue too irritating. When I do finish it I hope the ending proves me wrong.
    Ed K Super Reviewer
  • Mar 18, 2012
    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. 
    Melvin W Super Reviewer
  • Feb 26, 2012
    A simple story, but told well, with good writing, and even better line delivery from Kevin Spacey and Danny DeVito. I appreciated the film's take on belief systems, featuring some pretty insightful commentary, though I didn't agree with all of it. Being based on a play, the film did feel rather confined, but ultimately it's a dialogue-driven narrative anyway. 3.5/5 Stars
    Jeffrey M Super Reviewer
  • Feb 11, 2012
    Wonderful! A simple and terrific film that is very well written and bring three good actors. Fresh.
    Lucas M Super Reviewer

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