The Big Lebowski (1998) / Comedy-Thriller
MPAA Rated: R for language and sexuality
Running Time: 104 min.
Cast: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Julianne Moore, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Screenplay: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Review published September 7, 1998
An out-of-work amateur bowler (Bridges, White Squall) gets mistaken for a wealthy business man due to having the same last name and becomes embroiled in a quagmire of trouble when the rich Lebowski's daughter gets kidnapped and he is entrusted with delivering the ransom money.
The plot isn't anything too fresh, but this work is almost entirely driven by weird characters, much like the Coen brothers' other work (Raising Arizona, Fargo, Barton Fink). The film itself is a mixed bag, with a story that's not focused and some performances needlessly phony and over-the-top.
There are genuinely funny moments, and I did enjoy watching it, but it is my least favorite Coen brothers movie (well, maybe Miller's Crossing dips below) and considering all the talent here and critical acclaim of Fargo just behind them, it is a bit of a letdown. Here's proof that a collection of great moments and characters does not necessarily make a great movie.
©1998 Vince Leo