Monday Movie: Big Business, by David Bax
Every Monday, we’ll recommend a movie–it could be a classic, an overlooked recent treasure, an unfairly maligned personal favorite or whatever the hell we feel like–and we’ll tell you where to find it online.
This mostly forgotten comedy from 1988 was directed by Jim Abrahams, of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker and, at least to a good extent, it shows. Big Business doesn’t possess anywhere near the free-wheeling and anarchic confidence of Airplane! but the endearing, almost quaint, sensibility of a person who thinks of a movie as a place to play and have fun persists.
The premise–two sets of twins born at the same time are accidentally mixed and then separated–is the stuff of a pretty middle-of-the-road farce. But Abrahams redeems it by playing into the corniness and making that the movie’s charm. Thinking too much about this movie means you’re not watching it the right way.
Big Business takes place in a New York state that would only be recognizable to someone in the 1930s. Or, more accurately, to someone who only watched movies from the 1930s. Both the city and the small town life are cartoonish, as are the performances. Only the cars have been updated, really.
It’s not an entirely successful movie and there are far too many stretches without laughs to even be considered a successful comedy. But as a side project to the ZAZ legacy, it’s an enjoyable exercise in throwback-ness.
Big Business is available to rent from Amazon.