Big Trouble | Chicago Reader

Big Trouble

The odd chemistry of Alan Arkin's nervous desperation and Peter Falk's unflappable self-confidence works again in this sort-of sequel to The In-Laws, which finds Arkin as an insurance salesman with financial problems (all three of his triplets want to go to Yale) and Falk as an eccentric confidence artist who draws Arkin into a complicated scheme that turns out to be the plot of Double Indemnity. Screenwriter Andrew Bergman was set to direct, but was replaced shortly into the shooting by John Cassavetes; though the film doesn't represent as stimulating a confrontation between commercial styles and Cassavetes's personal aesthetic as his great 1980 Gloria, it still has several moments—most notably a completely offhanded kidnapping—when Cassavetes's inimitable off rhythms do strange and wonderful things to the conventionally written comedy. Big Trouble is just a footnote in the career of one of America's most innovative, unclassifiable filmmakers, but it's something to see. With Beverly D'Angelo, Charles Durning, and Robert Stack; Bergman's scenario is credited to the W.C. Fields pseudonym “Warren Bogle.”


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