by Brian McKay
The Big Lebowski is the tale of one Jeff Lebowski, a.k.a. "The Dude." He's an easy-going kind of guy, The Dude is. He likes to bowl (or so we assume since he's always at the bowling alley, though we never once see him actually roll a ball). He walks around in sweats and goes to the supermarket in his bathrobe. He smokes a lot of weed and drinks a lot of White Russians. And, he is the "laziest man in Los Angeles county, which kinda puts him in the running for World's laziest man." In short, ladies and gentlemen, he's my hero.When "The Dude" (Jeff Bridges) is subjected to a home invasion one night, his head forced into the toilet by one thug, as the other pisses on his living room rug, he manages to convince the thugs that they've got the wrong guy. As it turns out, they are looking for another Jeff Lebowski, one who is rich and whose trophy wife owes money to some shady characters. The thugs leave him alone with wounded pride and a pee-stained rug.
"Dude, Where's my Rug!"
When he relates his tale of woe to his buddy, Walter (John Goodman), a hilariously volatile Vietnam Vet (or so he claims), Walter insists that he should go confront the other Lebowski and demand compensation for the soiled rug. Taking his friend's advice (which is never a good idea with Walter), he goes to the Big Lebowski's mansion and is insulted and tossed out - though not before nicking a rug from the house's furnishings to replace his own. On the way out, he meets Bunny Lebowski (Tara Reid, playing a brainless slut. What a stretch), the trophy wife in question.
Soon thereafter, Bunny is kidnapped. The Big Lebowski (David Huddleston), hires Dude to make the ransom drop, in the hopes of having him identify the kidnappers, who may or may not be the same guys who pissed on his original rug. Before he can make the drop, however, his new rug is stolen, prompting an "Awww MAN!" from the Dude (one of the 140 times the Dude uses the word "Man" in the film). Before he has time to deal with the theft, he has to go make the money drop. He decides to get Walter involved as the wheelman, and naturally Walter flips out and everything starts going to hell with hilarious results. After the botched money drop, The Dude gets involved with Maude Lebowski (Julianne Moore), who tells him that Bunny has kinapped herself in a ploy to get more money out of Maude's father. So, like it or not, The Dude has now become a detective of sorts, although the thing he seems to detect best is where the Kaluah is so that he can make a White Russian.
The story, while overlong and rambling, is basically a venue in which a string of comedic sketches can unfold. The thing gets so convoluted that by the time it reaches the end, you kind of forget how it all ties back to the beginning. That's okay though, because you'll laugh your ass off along the way. Both Bridges and Goodman are in rare form, and this bumbling duo is one of the best things the Coen brothers have come up with to date. How can you not love The Dude, who is so easy-going that when the kidnappers later break into his house and start smashing things while he's in the tub smoking a J, his only response is to say "Hey, man, this is, like, a private residence!"Best enjoyed in small sittings after the initial viewing, the Big Lebowski is the kind of movie in which you skip forward to your favorite parts, and is a rock-solid source of one liners to quote with your friends. So when you're having a down day, pop in "The Big Lebowski" for a little pick-me-up, and always remember: The Dude Abides.
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originally posted: 11/06/01 19:42:51