Stan (Rob Schneider), an over-smooth real estate salesman, is being sent to prison for fraud and the prospect of being raped terrifies him, as he confesses to his pretty wife Mindy (Jennifer Morrison). He gets a six month reprieve after his corrupt lawyer (M. Emmett Walsh) bribes the judge so he can 'get his affairs in order'. Outside the martial arts school which kicks him out after a week, he meets mysterious, chain smoking hippy martial arts guru, The Master (David Carradine), who agrees to teach him self defence. Put through a rigorous training program Stan becomes a kung fu expert - and prepares to face the warring prison factions. But he doesn't expect a crooked Warden (Scott Wilson) with an eye on a big deal.
Review by Andrew L. Urban:
If you leave all your grown up sensibilities at the door and fill up on popcorn while watching Big Stan - preferably in a crowd of your like-minded mates - you'll probably have a roaring good time (if you're under 30, anyway). Rob Schneider's comedy about an egotistical real estate swindler . . . er, salesman, relies almost entirely on the premise that Stan (Schneider) is terrified of being repeatedly raped in prison. Hah, pretty funny, no? This premise opens the door to a number of bum jokes, some of which only half work because they involve things we aren't shown about said bums, and lots of prat falls involving bums getting spiked by various means. Yet more funny, heh?
The vulgarity and theme is unlikely to appeal to young females, so a date movie this probably ain't, even though the (original Get Smart star) Barbara Feldon-esque Jennifer Morrison - cute and vapid as called for - holds out a promise of female interest. This is more or less limited to her wanting to have a baby with Stan.
Once in prison, we get the predictable shaved headed gangs and other stereotypes, which Schneider uses to preach about bad things like, yes, you guessed it, rape in prison. His crusade to clean up the prison is hollow and not meant to be taken seriously, nor is much else but the downside of that is that audiences have little in which to invest.
Not that anyone will analyse Big Stan, but spare a thought for a society which is constantly being shown stories in which the best fighter gets to call the shots - no matter how well meaning and morally sound he may become. The irony of a new kung fu practitioner using his martial arts to stamp out violence by beating the crap out of the bullies is perhaps more than the film can bear.
But for sheer sleazebag characterisation, you'll have to search a lot of movies to match M. Emmet Walsh as the corrupt lawyer. And David Carradine is self mockingly entertaining as the long haired, soft spoken Master.
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BIG STAN (M)
CAST: Rob Schneider, David Carradine, M. Emmet Walsh, Jennifer Morrison,Scott Wilson, Henry Gibson
PRODUCER: Mark A. Z. Dippe, David Hillary, Timothy Wayne Peternel, John Schneider, Rob Schneider
DIRECTOR: Rob Schneider
SCRIPT: Josh Lieb
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Victor Hammer
EDITOR: Greg Babor, Richard Halsey
MUSIC: John Hunter
PRODUCTION DESIGN: Claire Kaufman (set decoration)
RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Hoyts
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 20, 2008
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.