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THE BIG KAHUNA.
Imagine Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Peter Facinelli in a conversation about the Big Kahuna -A.K.A. God!

-Review by David Bruce

T
HE BIG KAHUNA
(2000)

This page was created on July 07, 2000
and was updated on May 23, 2005

Directed by John Swanbeck
Writing credits Roger Rueff

Kevin Spacey .... Larry Mann
Danny DeVito .... Phil Cooper
Peter Facinelli .... Bob Walker
Paul Dawson .... Bellboy

Produced by Gerard Guez (executive), Barbara A. Hall (line), Joanne Horowitz (co-producer), Bernie Morris (associate), Elie Samaha, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Stevens
Original music by Christopher Young
Cinematography by Anastas N. Michos
Film Editing by Peggy Davis

Every sale begins with a smile.

SYNOPSIS:

The place: An industrial lubricant company's 16th floor hospitality suite overlooking beautiful downtown Wichita.

The reason: the Midwest Manufacturer's Annual Convention. The hors d'oeuvres: a cheese ball and carrot sticks.

The mood: not good. A funny, powerful and insightful meditation on life, love, friendship, honesty, work and God, THE BIG KAHUNA marks director John Swanbeck's film debut, as well as the producing debut of Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey, who stars along with Danny DeVito and Peter Facinelli. Written by Roger Rueff, based on his play "Hospitality Suite," it is being distributed by Lions Gate Films.

In THE BIG KAHUNA Larry (Kevin Spacey), Phil (Danny DeVito) and Bob (Peter Facinelli) are three midwestern businessmen at crucial stages of their lives. Larry is a smooth-talking slick operator whose brutal honesty comes as no surprise to his old pal Phil but shocks and offends young Bob. Recently married, deeply religious and a bit nervous about his first convention, Bob's wholesome righteousness irks Larry to no end. Trying to keep the peace is Phil, whose been in the business the longest. Recently divorced and emotionally and physically exhausted, Phil has suddenly found himself forced to reassess his life and purpose. As the evening progresses with the three men waiting for an important potential client to stop by - "the big kahuna" - they find themselves opening up in unexpected ways. As the night turns to day, each man has been transformed in ways that they - and the audience - would never expect.

David BruceTHE BIG KAHUNA.
Imagine Kevin Spacey, Danny DeVito and Peter Facinelli in a conversation about the Big Kahuna -AKA God!

-Review by David Bruce
Click photos to enlarge
WHO AND WHAT DO WE WORSHIP?
This film is not about the ever popular fraternity Big Kahuna, although such a person briefly appears. The Big Kahuna is
an important potential client. However, the movie is more about the other Big Kahuna in the sky.

A TRINITY OF PERSONS
Bob (beginning professional life), Larry (middle age), and Phil (near retirement) are three Midwestern businessmen at 3 very different crucial stages of their lives. Optimistic, cynical, and reflective. It is almost as though the same person is interacting with three stages of their life.

THE OPTIMISTIC PERSON
Recently married, deeply religious -a born again Baptist- and a bit nervous about his first convention, Bob's wholesome righteousness irks middle aged Larry to no end. Life has not happened to Bob yet. But he is sure that Jesus is the main event in life.

THE CYNICAL PERSON
Larry is a smooth-talking slick operator whose brutal honesty comes as no surprise to his old pal Phil but shocks and offends young Bob. Larry believes there is a God, but gives no place for God. Why should he? His god is business.
THE REFLECTIVE PERSON
Trying to keep the peace is Phil, who's been in the business the longest. Recently divorced and emotionally and physically exhausted, Phil has suddenly found himself forced to reassess his life and the meaning of God. A full spiritual circle.
TRANSFORMATION
As the evening progresses with the three men waiting for an important potential client to stop by - "the Big Kahuna" - they find themselves opening up in unexpected ways. As the night turns to day, each man has been transformed in ways that they had never expected..

Bulletin Board :

ABOUT THE COAT CLOSET
Subject: Big_Kahuna
Date: Tue, 5 Feb 2002
From: Patti

I also noticed in the film that in Danny Devito character's dream God is in a coat closet. If you remember at the beginning of the movie. Larry pulls the coat rack out into the hall, and later he asks where the coat closet is. Phil replies that there is no coat closet. Could the coat closet symbolize these characters lack of God or could it be because Larry puts out the rack that it symbolizes his not wanting a place for God in his life or wonderings? Just a rhetorical question.

Response: Good Question. -David

PROSTITUTING FRIENDSHIP
Subject: Big_Kahuna
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001
From:
JENNIFER

I didn't make the connection between the Big Kahuna and God at all. I thought the movie couldn't have been more right on in terms of indicting us Christians for our salesmanship tactics in trying to convert people outside of the church. It seemed as though all 3 characters in the film were critiqued in their own right, especially the Baptist kid!...who shouldn't be praised for his ''strategies''. It became apparent that the young salesman was a Pharisee who's life revolved moreso around his belief system, than an authentic love for people where they are at in life. I recently read an excellent quote by author Brian McLaren who says he hates the term ''friendship evangelism'' because the friendship usually gets prostituted out according to whether or not the friend accepts our belief system. Doesn't unconditional love even move out beyond the framework of our belief system?

QUESTION
Subject: Big_Kahuna
Date: Sat, 1 Sep 2001
From: Stephen

To Whom It May Concern,
My attention was drawn to one particular detail of the movie that I am curious about. DeVitto's character tells about a dream in which he encounters God in the form of a child but God has the head of a lion. Does anyone have any information on what inspired Roger Rueff to use this image?
Sincerely, Stephen C. Norwood

ON BEING A PERSON...
Subject: Big_Kahuna
Date: Tue, 22 May 2001
From: Ethan efro21@icqmail.com

This movie has much to say about the conversation of a "salesman" versus conversation between "people." And I think that this movie rightfully accuses many evangelists of being salesmen. The difference, I feel, is between preaching with a purpose and preaching out of love. The young Baptist preaches because Jesus is important to him; rather, he should preach because the person is important to him. As Phil suggested, "Ask them how their kids are, and ask simply because you care." Because character, in this movie, can be measured by the extent of one's interest in others.
Ethan efro21@icqmail.com

EVERYONE IS FREE TO WEAR SUNSCREEN
Subject: The Final Song Big Kahuna
Date: Sun, 18 Mar 2001
From: Edge

TO: Enrica
The song you are looking for is "Everyone is Free to Wear Sunscreen." There are many places to find it on the Web. There is also a Star Wars Parody of the song, but here is one place to find the original:
http://www.qsl.net/kc8jpp/sunscreen.html

THE FINAL SCENE
Subject: final scene
Date: Sun, 29 Oct 2000
From: Todd

The final scene really handles the issue of evangelism. I thought they did a great job of broaching the subject and getting the viewer to examine their motives. I would love to hear what others thought about the final scene with DeVito and Facinelli.
Todd

HELP!
Subject: help!
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000
From: Enrica

Dear all, my name is Enrica, I'm an italian young woman that after seing that beautiful movie "the big Kahuna" is interested in receiving the copy of the final songs... Is it possible? I would be very grateful to you! Thanks you for a your reply.
Regards, Enrica

My response: Sorry, no can do. -David


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