The Big Kahuna (film)

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The Big Kahuna
The Big Kahuna DVD cover.jpg
DVD cover
Directed by John Swanbeck
Produced by Elie Samaha
Kevin Spacey
Andrew Stevens
Screenplay by Roger Rueff
Based on Hospitality Suite 
by Roger Rueff
Starring Kevin Spacey
Danny Devito
Peter Facinelli
Music by Christopher Young
Cinematography Anastas N. Michos
Edited by Peggy Davis
Distributed by Lions Gate Films
Release dates
  • September 16, 1999 (1999-09-16) (TIFF)
  • April 28, 2000 (2000-04-28) ( limited)
Running time
90 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $7 million[1]
Box office $3,728,888[1]

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.


Kevin Spacey plays Larry Mann, a relentlessly foul-mouthed cynic; Danny DeVito plays Phil Cooper, a world-weary average Joe; and Peter Facinelli is Bob Walker, a devout and earnest young Baptist. The three are in the industrial lubricant industry : Larry and Phil are marketing representatives and Bob is part of research and development. The three are attending a trade show where they expect to land a very important account in the form of a rich businessman whom Larry refers to as The Big Kahuna. As the night progresses, Larry unleashes a torrent of scathingly funny witticisms, mostly directed at Bob, but finds himself relying on the newest member of the trio when their quarry invites Bob (and only Bob) to an exclusive party.

While Phil and Larry wait for Bob to bring them the news that could end their careers, they muse over the meaning of life. Bob finally returns and offers a bombshell: rather than try to sell their product, he has instead chosen to talk to the man with deep pockets about religion. Bob is unable to muster any reply at all when Phil quietly explains how he sees no difference at all between Bob's preaching and Larry's fast-talking.



Despite being a Box Office flop, The Big Kahuna received mixed to positive reviews; it currently holds a 74% 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes, with the consensus "Wonderful adaptation of the stage play."[2] The film received a 56/100 "mixed or average reviews" on Metacritic.[3]


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