Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

At first upon receiving notice that funnyman Rob Schneider was directing as well as starring in this film ‘Big Stan’ my thought was ‘who in their right mind thought this was a good idea?’. I then immediately apologized to Mr. Schneider who was nowhere around to hear my apology because I have no right to cast judgment on this mans abilities to direct anything. I do know that Mr. Schneider’s ‘Deuce Bigalow’ series of films were fairly awful just as his movie ‘The Animal’ was fairly awful but I did get some enjoyment out of watching ‘The Hot Chick’ even I have to admit. Nonetheless my preconceived notions of this films entertainment value were fairly low despite a funny premise. It probably hasn’t hurt Rob’s career that he can count Adam Sandler as a good friend since Sandler seems to be incapable of making a movie without sticking Schneider somewhere in it. Curiously enough, after watching ‘Big Stan’, I didn’t notice a cameo from Adam Sandler anywhere around, which is too bad for Sandler because if he were in this movie it would have been the funniest movie he’s been in since ‘The Waterboy’ back 1999. Seriously.

When we first meet Stan (Schneider) he is scamming some old lady into buying an unnecessary timeshare when he’s taken in custody by the feds. Is this scene a little racist? Most definitely. It’s also pretty funny. After a quick trial Stan is convicted and given the mandatory three to five, but his shyster lawyer played by M. Emmitt Walsh is able to secure him a six month deferment. Now this is one of my problems with our justice system, like the guy who stole all those millions from those people and then faked his suicide before he was supposed to ‘report’ to prison. Now if I rob a gas station of 80 bucks do you think I can arrange with the courts to ‘report’ to prison in a couple of weeks after I get a few affairs in order? Of course not. No passing go, no collecting 200 dollars, my ass is going from the defendants chair straight to jail. What in the hell is up with that?

Anyway, deathly afraid of going to jail and getting gang raped Stan stumbles upon The Master (David Carradine) who moves in with Stan and his wife Mindy (Jennifer Morrison) and teaches Stan the ways of the warrior. It’s a shaky start at first but soon Stan becomes The Master’s second best student ever, letting us know that sometime before the movie’s over that we will meet The Master’s best student, and now it’s off to jail. In prison Stan finds the biggest rapist there, in this case some character played by MMA and K1 fighter Bob Sapp who is so large that it’s a wonder that the earth can even support him, and kicks his ass. Then Stan proceeds to beat up the Aryan nation leader and all the Black dudes and is now the number one bad ass in the joint.

Stan also falls into favor with The Warden (Scott Wilson) who has a plan to turn his prison into a set of luxury condos and with Stan’s real estate expertise it’s a match made in heaven, especially with the promise of an early release. Unfortunately the wardens plan is a bit scurrilous and comes with a hefty price, plus considering that Stan has made all kinds of new friends he is now torn between getting out the slammer and being with his wife, who he thinks is doing The Master, or blowing this opportunity and doing the right thing in saving the lives of his quickly reforming prison inmate friends. Personally I’d be at home chilling in my Barcalounger, but then that’s just me, but I’m not in the middle of a zany predictable wacky comedy.

Note that there’s nothing particularly fresh or unique about the narrative in ‘Big Stan’ as it was fairly run of the mill stuff as it tells its tale of a bad person who turns good, pulled back to the dark only to do the right thing at the end, but recognizing that I’m sure the only thing that Schneider was really going for with ‘Big Stan’ was for it to make us laugh. To that end and to Mr. Schneider’s credit, this movie was actually pretty damn funny. I’m guessing Rob Schneider did a little working out since he was all buffed out for this thing, or at least as buffed out as 5’5" 140 pound little dude can get, which does help sell us on Stan as a badass. But then after having a career of playing picked on schlubs I’m sure Schneider relished the opportunity to kick some ass, get the pretty girl and be the hero for a change.

Of course not all the jokes work and the film is a little on the long side as it is essentially two separate movies, one featuring Stan out of jail and the other with Stan’s life in prison with equal time split between the two stories. However, at least from my vantage point, far more jokes worked than those that floundered and the film also had fine comedic work from David Carradine who is making one hell of a living making fun of himself, and it’s also good see that Henry Gibson is still alive and kicking.

‘Big Stan’ is easily the best movie, of the Rob Schneider movies that I’ve seen, that he’s ever made, other than ‘The Waterboy’ of course which is in all-time classic in my book, but he only had a glorified cameo in that one. Perhaps because since he directed, the director and the star were on the same wavelength and as such the director maximized his stars true potential. Whatever the reason, Adam Sandler might want to give his good friend Rob Schneider a shot at directing his next movie. Just a random thought.

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