The Big Kahuna (film)
|The Big Kahuna|
|Directed by||John Swanbeck|
|Produced by||Elie Samaha
|Screenplay by||Roger Rueff|
|Based on||Hospitality Suite
by Roger Rueff
|Music by||Christopher Young|
|Cinematography||Anastas N. Michos|
|Edited by||Peggy Davis|
|Distributed by||Lions Gate Films|
The Big Kahuna is a 1999 American comedy-drama film adapted from the play Hospitality Suite, written by Roger Rueff, who also wrote the screenplay. John Swanbeck, the director, makes few attempts to lessen this film's resemblance to a stage performance: the majority of the film takes place in a single hotel room, and nearly every single line of dialogue is spoken by one of the three actors.
The famous 1997 essay Wear Sunscreen is featured at the end of the film.
Larry Mann (Kevin Spacey) and Phil Cooper (Danny DeVito), experienced marketing representatives for a company that sells industrial lubricants, are attending a trade show in the American Midwest with Bob Walker (Peter Facinelli), a novice sales rep. Larry and Phil are close friends with a long history together. Larry faces urgent financial difficulties that he alludes to only obliquely; Phil has recently come through a recovery program for alcoholism. Bob, an earnest young Baptist, has few if any regrets. Together they hope to arrange a meeting with the head of a large company. Larry refers to their quarry as 'the Big Kahuna.'
During the course of their hotel stay, Bob asks Phil questions about how to develop and discern character while Larry navigates the stresses of life with witticisms. At one point Larry remarks that as he has quit smoking, Phil has quit drinking and Bob is a virgin, the three of them together are 'practically Jesus.'
Bob, the novice, secures the desired meeting with the Big Kahuna when he, and he alone, is invited by the tycoon to an exclusive party. Larry and Phil coach Bob through the company's talking points, pare the pitch down to an amount of information Bob can handle, and supply him with the relevant business cards. As they wait for Bob to bring them news that could make or break their careers, they reflect on the nature of human life. Bob returns to drop a bombshell: rather than pitch the company's product, he used the time to discuss religion. Larry leaves the room, devastated. Phil explains to Bob that proselytizing is just another kind of sales pitch, and that making real human-to-human contact requires more.
- Kevin Spacey as Larry Mann
- Danny DeVito as Phil Cooper
- Peter Facinelli as Bob Walker
- Paul Dawson as Bellboy
- George F. Miller (uncredited) as Hotel patron leaving lobby
The Big Kahuna garnered a generally positive critical reception while earning modest returns at the box office. The film currently holds a 74% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus "Wonderful adaptation of the stage play." The film received a 56/100 "mixed or average reviews" on Metacritic.