Sidelined by social sensitivities after September 11, this offbeat comedy stars Tim Allen as Eliot Arnold, a divorced former newspaper columnist. When his son Matt (Ben Foster) attempts a prank on schoolmate Jenny (Zooey Deschanel), he inadvertently foils a mob hit on her father (Stanley Tucci). Her father’s illegal activities include the purchase of a stolen nuclear bomb. A possible romance between Matt and Jenny, as well as Eliot and Jenny’s mom (Rene Russo) gets sidetracked when they all become involved in a mad race to retrieve the stolen bomb. FBI agents, small-time thugs, local police, and mob hit men provide plenty of comical obstacles. This unlikely story has far too many outrageous coincidences, which make “Big Trouble” little fun, but young adults may latch onto this slapstick adaptation of humorist Dave Barry’s novel.
Aside from a prayerful Hispanic housemaid who beats off the advances of her sleazy, adulterous boss and a hippie, “Jesus look-alike” who quotes Genesis, there are few redeeming elements in this film. Three different characters show no qualms about adultery. The dialogue is filled with sexually suggestive comments and a wide variety of vulgar terms. Violence, while not too graphic or gory, occurs frequently. Brief male rear nudity is seen, along with several exposures of women in skimpy attire. These elements shorten any interest in “Big Trouble.”