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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, Big or What?
First observation; this film is titled "The Big Kahuna" - "Kahuna" is a Hawaiian word meaning hierophant or expert in any given field. As far as I can tell, however, the Kahuna in question, a big businessman from whom the three protagonists want to secure a lucrative contract, is always referred to (by Larry - he is the only one who uses the term) as "The Great Kahuna",...
Published on 14 Jun. 2012 by J. Rottweiller Swinburne

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3.0 out of 5 stars The Big Kahuna was OK
The Big Kahuna was OK. It was obviously a film taken from a play. The dialogue was a bit unconvincing and it was hard to see what the point of the experience was, for the characters. It dragged a bit and, although the three main actors put in good performances, I did not feel that I knew the characters much better by the end of the film. I felt that the actors were let...
Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Hilary G. May


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, Big or What?, 14 Jun. 2012
This review is from: The Big Kahuna [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
First observation; this film is titled "The Big Kahuna" - "Kahuna" is a Hawaiian word meaning hierophant or expert in any given field. As far as I can tell, however, the Kahuna in question, a big businessman from whom the three protagonists want to secure a lucrative contract, is always referred to (by Larry - he is the only one who uses the term) as "The Great Kahuna", never the "Big". I wonder if there's any significance in this?

Plot - Larry (Kevin Spacey), Phil (Danny de Vito) and Bob (Peter Facinelli) are three salesmen sent to a business convention in order to snare a big contract for their company, which produces industrial lubricants, from a potential client, the Kahuna in question. Phil has been assured that the Kahuna in question will be at the convention, but he doesn't materialise. Larry, the motormouth of the three, is furious and blames Phil for the no-show, though Phil bears no blame for it (Larry is very keen on blaming others for everything, but never takes responsibility for anything himself). It then conspires, after the convention has finished and all three of them are sat around, dispirited, in their miserable hotel room, that Bob had been talking to the Big K all along - the Big K was there incognito, not wanting to be bothered by salesman trying to force a sale on him (though this begs the question of why he was at a sales convention in the first place if he felt like that). Larry and Phil make Bob go after the Big K and try to talk him into a deal - Bob goes, but returns empty-handed, having been unable to bring himself to pollute his friendship with the Big K by bringing Mammon into it. Larry blows his top, Bob and he have a brief fight which Bob wins. They all go home after some superficial, cod-moralising about integrity and what it means to be a Man.

The film is a screen version of "Hospitality Suite", a 1999 stage play by Roger Rueff (who also adapted it for the screen). Its stage provenance shows; in the waiting about for the Big K there are strong echoes of "Waiting for Godot", while much of the claustrophobic, clammy atmosphere of the hotel room that the three wait around in could have come straight out of anything by David Mamet. I wonder if the aim of the play is to show the superficiality of American society/culture (in the manner of Brett Easton Ellis's "American Psycho")? Much of the philosophising that the three protagonists come out with is little more than matchbox observation (and is frequently wrong anyway), undermining the gravitas that the characters try to convey; this is, to my mind, reinforced by the recitation at the end and over the credits, of the (apparently) famous 1997 essay "Wear Sunscreen", which itself is little more than a recitation of trite homespun saws that amount to little more than a string of empty aphothegms - but maybe that's the point. If so, then the film is a triumph of social analysis, and I have chosen to take it in that spirit, hence the four stars. I think it's the kind of film that you could watch several times and interpret differently each time, and something like that is always worth a good look. And if all else fails, you've still got de Vito and Spacey, and with them in a film (especially together), who loses?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The real troubles in life are apt to be things that never crossed your mind., 21 July 2009
By 
Timothy Bates "Who is John Galt?" (Edinburgh, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Kahuna [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
Bob, Larry, and Phil.

Shot essentially in one hotel room, this film very much like the play. The question it asks, among others, is "What is character?"

Young Bob, full of religion and purposeful sincerity, thinks Larry is a shallow marketing shill. Larry thinks Bob is the insincere one: We're all marketing something. Broken Phil thinks... and answers the question about character.

It's not Shakespeare, but still has space enough to make you think too.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The Big Kahuna was OK, 28 Jan. 2015
By 
Mrs. Hilary G. May (Berkshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Big Kahuna [DVD] (DVD)
The Big Kahuna was OK. It was obviously a film taken from a play. The dialogue was a bit unconvincing and it was hard to see what the point of the experience was, for the characters. It dragged a bit and, although the three main actors put in good performances, I did not feel that I knew the characters much better by the end of the film. I felt that the actors were let down by the quality of the writing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Mamet-like, with superb acting, 6 July 2014
This review is from: The Big Kahuna [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
As a previous reviewer has noted, the script of this movie has many of the aspects of a Mamet play: sudden mood changes, all-male competitive environment. conflict, abusive argumentation, and above all the sententious (cp especially Glen Garry Glen Ross, for all these). The acting is astonishingly good and the whole work is deeply moving.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars humans behind the sales, 11 Feb. 2004
By 
Carlos Vazquez Quintana "cvq" (Linares- Spain) - See all my reviews
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Life can be bad, good or indifferent. It's only as you look at it.In this film life it represented by business or sales, and for sale you need the big client, in this case, the Big Kahuna. At an hotel are also three salesmen, people many of us thinks are worrying and superficial. But they go to demonstrate they are more than these: they represents three different ways of understanding sales and furthermore of seeing at life because they have different ages and experiences. The older played by Danni de Vito is tired, recently divorced and prone to drink. The younger is inexperienced, importunely religious and narrowminded. Larry, the third, played by Kevin Spacey is a dynamic experienced salesman and a close friend of the older, but he can’t do alone all the work. As the others he’s neither interested in what he sells, but he does like to sell. His product are lubricants but nobody are interested in these. The Big Kahuna, a mature man that we can suspect is also some tired of business, doesn’t carry his identity card at the convention, so he’s not recognized by the two experts as they don’t know him physically and by hazard, he coincides with the inexperienced young so, the business depends on himself but professionally he fails in driving the conversation all the evening only about Jesus. When the others know what happened, Larry explodes as the young doesn’t understand why he has done wrong. They treat to keep in mind of the young there are in life moments for spirituality and for oneself, but the convention isn’t one of these: they are here for work and sales and in not doing it, he’s not as good as he thinks of himself, but a fraud. There are, summing up, a complete study of characters, about life, about freedom of beliefs and about what, when and when not you must do your work ad when you can permit to be oneself, ad how to sell without let to be oneself. Excellent drama and actuations.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Well acted., 7 Oct. 2014
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Campbell Mcpherson (Yorkshire England) - See all my reviews
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This was clearly written for the stage - probably in the 1950s??

The cinematographic technique is adapted accordingly. French 1950s style??? It's well acted but rather static and the message is rather.... well, watch it and decide. Don't watch if you are in a mid-life crisis!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 19 April 2015
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This review is from: The Big Kahuna [1999] [DVD] (DVD)
Loved It
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