Projections - Movie Reviews

The Big Kahuna The Big Kahuna

Right now, Kevin Spacey is a big kahuna in the world of motion pictures, though, in The Big Kahuna, he's not the titular character.  His first foray from a reawakened suburban man of American Beauty relocated in a hotel room in Wichita doesn't go for thrills, but the love of the stage which got him started.

Abstracted from Illionoina Roger Rueff, a former chemical engineer, Spacey made this gabby independent feature, which he produced, from the play Hospitality Suite while in rehearsal for the Broadway production, The Iceman Cometh.  And the debut film from John Swanbeck lets Spacey and co-stars Danny DeVito and Peter Facinelli excel in a film underlined with dark wit and conflict that counterbalance the intrinsic staleness of the piece which was shot in New York in less than three weeks.

In going back to complement his legit prowess, Spacey embodies his sly acting sensibilities in this low budget drama that mixes personal attitudes with career philosophy and often encroaches the viewer's domain of being taken places.  It never looks to go places, a seemingly more intimate version of those driven types in the corporate sphere, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Swimming With Sharks, both of which starred Spacey.

Here, in the confined space of a hotel room, Spacey's Larry and DeVito's Phil are two industrial lubricant salesmen who ponder away with a budding researcher, Bob (Facinelli).

On business at a trade conference, Spacey imbues Larry as a tough, sardonic type, as their client party is in heavily cramped quarters, but Phil doesn't get in a lather, even if one of the patrons, Dick Fuller, is the big kahuna.  And Larry's demeanor of consumption and strong language don't sit well with the newlywed Bob, a devout Christian.

In looking closer into this edgy, observant psychoanalysis involving the chance to make the ultimate sale, Bob, the avid, yet tense scientist, displays much charisma, proving that Facinelli's much better than dreary memories like Supernova and Can't Hardly Wait.  Bob gets in with that kahuna who was unrecognized, having donned the wrong name tag, and they talked about the demise of Fuller's dog, nothing that would interest Larry.  Thus, when Bob explains talk of religion upon schmoozing with the big fish at another bash, Spacey exhibits his dark persona with contempt, earlier disclosing a droll distance at Bob's un phony philosophizing.

Although Rueff's source material may feel like a one act play brought to the screen, Swanbeck knows how to give each performer his due, with Spacey never using his power to overwhelm the proceedings.  Along with the engaging Facinelli, DeVito gives the exhausted selling Phil a sageness that elicits a cogency from the now divorced hustler, who's diametrical to Bob.

Still, if The Big Kahuna fails for its sermonizing salesman in the hospitality suite of a faceless hotel being stuck for one long uneventful evening, Spacey and company surpass the product placement challenges that's more slippery than what they vend.

 
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The Big Kahuna
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