Few actors cause such excessive eye rolling as Rob Schneider. I’ll begin by saying that I don’t plan to defend the man’s many career missteps at all in this piece but I will implore and hopefully convince you to give this, his directorial debut, a shot and I’m confident you’ll thank me later.
Funnily enough, when I first saw Big Stan I was out voted. Renting a DVD with some friends, I can remember staunchly opposing them gravitating towards a film with Rob Schneider in it. I was the very person I’m hoping to persuade today, I had most recently seen The Animal and couldn’t have been less interested. Instead of a tasteless comedy dredge however, I got something wholly unexpected. Stan (Schneider) is a con man who’s game is up and he’s going to prison. Fearing the worst as a “softie” going into the big house he enlists some help to toughen up before sharing bunks with the biggest and baddest.
First and foremost, Schneider runs the show like a boss from the director’s chair. Tales from the set talk of Schneider being woefully I’ll during production yet storming on unphased and he had a huge cast to deal with, including character stalwarts such as Scott Wilson and the late David Carradine. What could have been a feature debut in the director’s chair littered with players like Kevin James and Chris Rock became something a little more, and it’s a flick with a whole lot of heart to it.
I’m not saying this is Oscars material and its relative obscurity kept Schneider from finally breaking big time as a director (he has directed since, 2010’s The Chosen One) but this is a film that can be easily overlooked sadly, made all the more criminal by the fact that this year’s Get Hard featuring Will Ferrell and Kevin Hart playing out an identical plot is nothing short of a rip off and has opened to recoup double its budget.
Watch it, as you should watch all comedies, when you’re needing a little pick me up. Next time you sit down to watch Airplane! for the millionth time (which there is of course nothing wrong with) maybe throw this on instead. A little gem.
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