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Big Stan

Year: 2007
Production Co: Crystal Sky Pictures
Director: Rob Schneider
Producer: Rob Schneider
Cast: Rob Schneider, David Carradine, Henry Gibson, Bob Sapp, Sally Kirkland

A film featuring Rob Schneider in the lead role could never be anything other than a stupid comedy, but this film will actually surprise you. Not because it's better than you think it will be, but that's it breathlessly worse than you could imagine, and the reason is because it virtually sports neon signs of badly-advised rejigging reading 'Rob Schneider wanted to change direction' and 'Rob Schneider had too much say over the script'. It's perhaps no surprise he directed it.

Perhaps tired of being the Jewfro-clad, nerdish comic relief - a kind of frathouse Woody Allen - Schnieder is a crooked property developer who's sentenced to prison and who therefore has six months to train to defend himself under an enigmatic martial artist, becoming an unbeatable he-man inside. If only such ridiculous casting was the extent of it.

Schnieder has no idea where the film is going, what - if anything - it has to say and what the point is, even if it was to be funny. At least in a marketing committee-driven film it would be coherent, torn straight from the studio plotting 101 playbook. Schneider doesn't have any auteur aspirations to play with such strictures, he just doesn't know how to adhere to them, and a film that could merely have been stupid is rendered a stupid mess.

Once inside he proceeds to unite the prison trough the unshakeable leadership his toughness (!) affords him, and when he learns about a corrupt scheme by the warden to close the prison and sell the land, it's up to him to save the day yada yada blah blah...

I'm writing this review in the week of costar David Carradine's untimely and embarrassing demise, apparently from auto-erotic asphyxiation. If by any chance he'd just watched himself in this movie, I think we can safely attribute it to a suicide.

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