"Just a really fun movie that you can fall right into."
Every teenage boy at one time or another wished that they were big. No more being told what to do by your folks, no more school, no more problems with girls, but most of us never had a wishing machine that could make that wish come true. Josh Baskin (Tom Hanks) does.After being disgraced in front of a girl he likes, Josh makes a wish at an arcade Ďwish machineí that he was bigger. The machine spits out a card telling him his wish is granted, and the next day Josh wakes up as a 30-year-old, much to his motherís terror. Sneaking out of the house he finds his best friend Billy (Jared Rushden) and they escape to New York City where Josh gets a job for a toy company. Of course, the job turns out to suit him down to the ground, he rapidly rises to VP, buys himself a big fat apartment filled with toys and begins to schtup one of the female executives (Elizabeth Perkins).
Back in the 80ís, Tom Hanks was but a stand-up comedian whoíd been on a few TV shows, until this flick came along and earned ridiculous money and critical acclaim. Directed by Penny Marshall, otherwise known as the Laverne half of TVís Laverne and Shirley, and written by Anne Spielberg (sister of Steven), you could have been forgiven for thinking that it was going to be a formulaic mess, but the skills of all concerned surprise and enthrall. Hanks is simply awesome in the lead role, playing a twelve-year-old trapped in a manís body without a single missed step. Heís flawless, as is Liz Perkins opposite him. Even little Jared Rushden delivers the goods.
Many family comedies from the 80ís find it tough to charm these days, because audiences, styles and attitude have changed markedly in the last fifteen years, but Big is like Itís A Wonderful Life in that it just gets better and better, the more times you see it. In an interesting trivia sidenote, Steven Spielberg was originally slated to direct the film and wanted Harrison Ford to play the lead. I never thought I'd say this, but thank god Spielberg didn't direct this thing. Other actors who were offered the lead role include Robert DeNiro (who turned it down because the producers wouldn't pay him enough) and Jeff Bridges. Hanks eventually won out, mostly because he was cheap. The rest is history.Next time you go see a Tom Hanks film and wonder just why it is that heís so damn popular, go rent this flick (assuming your local Blockbuster hasnít sold it off like they do most films that are more than six months old) and rediscover why.