Fans of the weird comic mystery novels by the likes of Kinky Friedman and Carl Hiassen will definitely like this screen adaptation of columnist Dave Barry's novel Big Trouble. The recipe for such soft-boiled novels is simple: a couple of crazy and inept criminals, a guy out of his element, a weird hippy, bumbling cops, a surrealistic series of unconnected events coming together at the same time, and, of course, encounters with a weird animal. Big Trouble belongs to that very rare genre of comedy mystery and features little violence and great secondary characters.
Tim Allen plays a former Miami Herald columnist who somehow manages to save the peninsula from an accidental explosion. All this because his son, involved in a game of Killer at school, decides to perform the hit at the same time and place as a couple of hitmen (including Dennis Farina of Law and Order) intent on killing someone who skimmed money from a criminal organization.
This movie features great gags about Geo Metros, quite a few putdowns of Miami Gator fans, quite a lot of slapstick, a special appearance by Martha Stewart as the family pet, TVs being shot out right left and center, appropriate product placement for Fritos, and a great scene at the airport where the security people take a beating and the airport screeners in their ineptitude cause an atomic bomb's timer to be turned on. Perhaps this sounds like quite a mess but director Barry Sonnenfeld does a great job of keeping all of these elements (and quite a few others) in order. Tim Allen is great, as is Stanley Tucci as the intended victim of the mob hit.
That this comedy DVD cum funny mystery clocks in at only 85 minutes is more proof that Sonnenfeld knew what he was doing: There is not a single extra scene or extraneous dialogue. This is great popcorn fare. Hopefully, this director will be asked to take on the work of Carl Hiassen and Kinky Friedman.