Picks and Pans Review: Big Trouble

updated 07/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/07/1986 AT 01:00 AM EDT

If director John (Love Streams) Cassavetes offered his audiences pretzels and a glass of beer with this home movie, he might be forgiven. As it is, the producers are charging admission to see it, and anyone who pays $5 for a ticket is paying $5 too much, plus transportation costs. The film features a lot of estimable actors, such as Peter Falk, Alan Arkin, Robert Stack, Beverly D'Angelo and Charles Durning. Many of them are Cassavetes' friends, or at least they were until he roped them into this sloppy, tedious comedy about a con man (Falk) who tries to bilk an insurance company by faking his own death. Arkin, an insurance salesman, gets involved in the scam because he's desperate for money to send his triplets to Yale. That part of the plot is introduced immediately, setting a who-cares tone that is maintained throughout as terrorists, insanity and death meander in and out of the frame. One of Falk's big scenes has him trying to get laughs out of the facial contortions displayed by someone undergoing a heart attack. Anyone who has the choice should opt for Uncle Ziggy's films of his trip to Wyoming. (R)

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