"My only hope is that the big Lebowski kills me before the Germans can cut my d&%$ off."You'd think getting mistaken for a hot shot millionaire would be a good thing for a middle-aged, weed-smoking slacker. But in Joel and Ethan Coen's 1998 comedy The Big Lebowski, this case of mistaken identity brings nothing but misfortune for "The Dude," played by newly minted Oscar winner Jeff Bridges.
After thugs break into his apartment demanding ransom for his kidnapped wife, The Dude, whose real name is Jeffrey Lebowski, quickly explains he is not at all the man they're looking for--the millionaire Jeffrey Lebowski. Thinking he's lying, the two kidnappers persist in vandalizing his apartment and threatening to kill his presumed wife. The Dude, outraged about this inconvenient misunderstanding, goes straight to the other Lebowski and demands a reprieve for this inconvenience. However, the millionaire offers him something better than a replacement for his ruined rug-- $20,000 to coordinate a $1 million dropoff to the kidnappers in exchange for his wife. With nothing else going on himself, of course The Dude obliges. Little did he know he'd find himself, along with his slacker pal Walter (played by John Goodman), in a wild goose chase around town involving porn stars, teenage criminals, and random street gangs. And all The Dude wants is to return to his normal life and bowl all day.
Hilarious, well-written, and well-performed by both Bridges and Goodman, The Big Lebowski blows other more recent slacker comedies out the water and proves that Bridges can do any role.
Reel Talk rating: B+