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MovieMike's Movie Reviews (83)

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The Big Lebowski 
Not As Big As I Thought It Would Be
2/4 stars

A follow up to the successful Cohen Brothers' film 'Fargo', this Jeff Bridges-centric comic/mystery seemed to hold so much promise. While you don't often see movies tied to bowling, Joel and Ethan do their best to mine this backdrop for additional laughs and absurdity. Their main character (Bridges) is presented as The Dude - a poster boy for slackers the world over. Dressed as he is either getting ready for bed (or just got out), The Dude trudges his way through this film with as little energy or evidence of thought as possible. Unwittingly caught up in a web of mistaken identity, con artists, and well intentioned friends, we watch as The Dude slowly begins to shrug off his perpetual stupor and try and take control of things that are raising havoc with his 'chill' existence. John Goodman is great as the paranoid, but well meaning friend, who also happens to make reference to his status as a Vietnam vet at every possible moment. Steve Buscemi is also another sidekick who despite his efforts, is unable to contribute much to the cause. There are a number of cameo-type appearances from people like Ben Gazzarra and Sam Elliot (to mention just a couple) but all this is not enough to carry through what I thought was a good script that runs out of gas well before the film ends. To be sure, there were a ton of quotable lines and catchphrases to go along with the bizarre plot twists, but there were also cringe worthy moments and other aspects that just didn't seem to work in the story.

While I found Fargo to be watchable and demanding of your attention for every frame, it just didn't feel like the main story in this film had been well thought out. There were some lines that got repeated to the point of tedium, and Philip Seymour Hoffman's contribution was uncharacteristically amateurish. In juggling the multiple plot lines, The BIg Lebowski fails to reconnect the dots in any sort of logical manner. Granted, in a Cohen Brothers film, absurdity and ridiculous are par for the course, but the viewer should be able to walk away at least feeling entertained. I know this movie has a cult following and does get rave reviews from some sources, but for me, I found it disappointing. Long live The Dude...


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