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A thug out to collect a debt owed by Bunny Lebowski (Tara Reid), young trophy wife to Jeffrey Lebowski (David Huddleston), wheelchair-bound Pasadena millionaire, turns up at the wrong Jeffrey Lebowski (Jeff Bridges), also known as The Dude. While menacing him, he scornfully urinates on his nice rug. The Dude is a lazy loser who wastes his days drinking and bowling with his buddies Walter Sobchak (John Goodman), a short-tempered Vietnam vet; and Donny (Steve Buscemi), a slow-witted ex-surfer. When The Dude attempts to receive compensation for his soiled rug from "the Big Lebowski," he sets off an outrageous chain of events that involves everything from kidnapping, ransom, double crosses, and pornography to a writer for the vintage TV western Branded, a gang of German nihilists, and their lethal pet marmot.

Review by Louise Keller:
The road down a Coen Bros film is wonderfully dark, yet brightly lit by an eclectic group of characters, all of whom have one thing in common - they are all bizarre. After the wonderfully satisfying and complete work of Fargo, many will no doubt be disappointed at this wild journey that doesn’t really go anywhere. 

The plot has big gaping holes in it, and there is much that could be branded as Coen Bros self indulgence. But before you dismiss The Big Lebowski, allow it to tickle the funny bone, by entering a world of funny, outrageous characters who find themselves in absurd situations. There is nothing apologetic about this film. 

It is in-your-face and blatantly offensive at times, yet compulsive and entertaining at others. The performances are high class, and it looks like everyone had a ball making it. There are some Coen regulars - Buscemi, Stormare and Turturro; watch out for the latter in an amazing turn as Jesus, the serious bowler in the purple skin tight bodyshirt and matching pants, who has enough pizzazz to emulate a flamenco dancer on heat. Jeff Bridges’ Dude is a laid-back character, a real dead-beat, a lazy slob, whose main activity is getting together with his bowling buddies. 

As the pivot for the story, Dude is the converse of John Goodman’s Walter, the loudmouth with the army haircut and obsession, while Steve Buscemi is cast against type as the mild-mannered, serious bowler. Bowling is a religion to these boys, a catharsis and the mainstay of their friendship and relationship. Julianne Moore’s scene stealing first appearance shows her flying (on wires) over an artist canvas, naked, with blobs of paint which she ceremoniously dumps as she flies past. There are some delicious surprises in the cast, and there’s a lot of business that gets belly laughs. 

The Big Lebowski is a film comprising of absurdly funny moments, loosely knitted together in a clever plot of sorts, and glued together with a fabulous music score of moody and upbeat tunes. If you’re a fan, don’t miss it - it may not be Fargo, but you’ll be swept away by the sheer nonsensical, farcical wonder of it all.

Published April 22, 2004

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CAST: Jeff Bridges, John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, John Turturro, Peter Stormare, Julianne Moore, David Huddleston, Phiulip Seymour Hoffman, Flea, Leon Russom, Sam Elliott, Tara Reid, John Turtorro, David Thewlis, Ben Gazzara


SCRIPT: Joel & Ethan Coen

RUNNING TIME: 127 minutes

PRESENTATION: aspect ratio: dual ratio; audio: 5.1



DVD RELEASE: February 25, 2004

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