The Big Green
1995, PG, 100 min. Directed by Holly Goldberg Sloan. Starring Steve Guttenberg, Olivia D'Abo, Jay O. Sanders, John Terry, Chauncey Leopardi, Bug Hall.
REVIEWED By Joey O'Bryan, Fri., Oct. 6, 1995
Rarely have I been as disgusted with a movie's ad campaign as I have been with the newest Walt Disney Pictures release, the kiddie sports comedy The Big Green (which, I feel obligated to mention, was filmed in and around Austin last fall). From the poster, which depicts a young lad being smacked in the crotch by a flying soccer ball, to the trailer, an almost non-stop barrage of fart and burp jokes – the film's advance publicity suggests the latest Porky's sequel rather than wholesome family entertainment. Is this really what the Disney legacy has come to? Unfortunately, the answer appears to be yes. It seems somewhat redundant to complain about the severe lack of originality behind The Big Green's plot and characters when the filmmakers themselves refer to their film as “The Mighty Ducks (what about the Bad News Bears, guys?), but with soccer,” so I'll refrain from doing so; but it should be said that this is a movie written and directed so haphazardly that you'll actually feel every second of its insulting derivativeness. The performances are pretty much what you'd expect from such vapid material (in other words, Steve Guttenberg's “comeback” is anything but), not really any better or worse than usual. The only exception is Olivia d'Abo, who actually manages a few moments of subtle charm despite the dull nature of both her character and dialogue. The soccer sequences are also flubbed, having been shot, edited, and choreographed with what seems like as little imagination as possible, leaving only incoherent montages of kicking and head-butting and the spectacular plays being very few and very far in-between (for some real unparalleled soccer action, track down an obscure, 1980, Hong Kong sports epic called The Champions, starring Yuen Biao). The Big Green is at its worst and most desperate when resorting to ridiculous hallucinations and silly sped-up photography to get laughs, and it's at its best when… well, it's over. Although some really young, easily entertained children may find some slight amusement in this inane mess, adults will most likely find themselves squirming through nearly every minute of this overlong (1 hour and 50 minutes!), predictable bore.