Big Bully

January 28, 2012 7 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

When David Leary was a child, he always lived in fear, due to a bully at school, named Fang. Whether it was atomic drops on the seesaw, wedgies, or peeing in his juice, Fang did everything he could to ruin David’s life, including just beating the tar out of him right before school pictures. Hiding when he could, David tried to find ways to avoid his bully or even amend things and move on, but Fang never wanted to do that, he was happy bullying David all the time. But when David discovered he was moving, he turned Fang in for stealing a moonrock, and Fang was taken away. Now David (Rick Moranis) has grown up and become a writer, but he is returning to his home town to teach for a semester. When he arrives, he discovers not much has changed over the years, his pyromaniac friend is there, his old crush is there, and yes, even that bully himself, Fang is there. Although David assumes age has changed Fang (Tom Arnold), he is wrong, and Fang starts right back with the antics, tripping David and other pranks. At the same time, David’s son is bullying Fang’s son to no mortal end. Can these father and son pairs make their amends so they can all go ahead with their lives?

While this may seem like a movie that would only appeal to fans of family films, I think anyone who enjoys a good laugh will enjoy this film. The movie has some excellent dialogue, and while the concept might seem lame, it works itself out well within the film. While most of the film is light hearted, some of it is also very dark, especially the climactic confrontation scenes toward the end, where attempted murder occurs and more dark stuff. This might scare some little kids, but I thought it was great and added a lot to the film’s appeal. It shows how desperate Fang is to keep bullying David, and we also explore Fang’s rationale behind being a bully, which surprised me. The dialogue is quite funny, but the physical humor is also hilarious. The pea shooting scene is my favorite, and there are several others that equal that in terms of comedy. This is a hard recommendation to make as a family film, since so many parents are overprotective and what not, but I think normal (non sheltered) kids would be ok with this flick. If you’re not a kid though and you love comedies, make sure you give this one a chance, whether it be rental or purchase.

This film was directed by Steve Miner, who uses some excellent camera work here, given the light comedic nature of the film. The climactic confrontation scenes look amazing, and the use of placement and angle serve to enhance the impact of the scenes greatly. If you like Miner’s style, make sure to check out Lake Placid, Halloween:H20, Soul Man, House, and Warlock. The leads in this film are crucial, and they are played to perfection by Rick Moranis and Tom Arnold. When you think of someone who could play the victim of a bully well, Moranis (Ghostbusters, Parenthood) is an obvious choice. In terms of looks, speech, and mannerisms, Moranis just seems like the nerd everyone pushed around in school, and he is the logical choice for this role. And when you think of someone who seems like a loud and obnoxious bully, Arnold (The Stupids, True Lies) seems like a lock. Arnold plays the bully with energy and enthusiasm, which helps the character a lot. The supporting cast includes Carol Kane (Scrooged, Jawbreaker), Jeffrey Tambor (Teaching Miss Tingle), Don Knotts (Pleasantville, The Ghost & Mr. Chicken), and Julianne Phillips (Fletch Lives, Skin Deep). Also appearing is Curtis Armstrong, who played Booger in the Revenge of the Nerds series.

Video: How does it look?

Big Bully is presented in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. This is a very strong image, with the only drawback I could see being a print with some visible damage spots. But these spots were not distracting by any means, so I won’t harp on them too much. The colors look bright and bold, with no signs of errors, and flesh tones appear natural and free from distortion as well. No contrast troubles either, with solid shadow definition and no detail loss is evident. I noticed some very small edge enhancement, but nothing to worry about, a great looking release for this catalog title.

Audio: How does it sound?

Warner has gone back and remastered the audio for this film in a wonderful Dolby Digital 5.1 track, which sounds excellent. While audio isn’t this film’s strongest suit, it does have some moments when the surrounds kick into gear, such as the confrontation sequences, which were thunderous on my system. The music also caused some serious activity within the surrounds, so plenty of audio dynamite is found here. But in all of that, the dialogue is not lost by any means, with each word coming across clearly and at a nice volume.

Supplements: What are the extras?

This release contains the theatrical trailer, bonus trailer for other Morgan Creek releases, and talent files.

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