Credit screenwriter John Bradshaw for a clever situation, but blame director John Bradshaw for mishandling THE BIG SLICE, as a heavy-handed farce that strains for too few laughs.
"You gotta write about something you know about, from an intense personal experience!" That's the brush-off an influential literary agent gives to two young would-be authors. Mike Sawyer (Casey Siemaszko) drives a cab for a living, Andy McCafferty (Justin Louis) slaves at a pizza joint--the
eponymous Big Slice--and as a team they have completed six failed novels and four dud screenplays. To get that intense personal experience they try "method writing," pretending to be the characters in their planned crime fiction and taking notes on what happens.
Mike passes himself off as a professional thief and winds up an uneasy comrade to fearsome gangster Nick Papadopoulis (Nicholas Campbell). Andy becomes the civilian sidekick of ferocious Police Lieutenant Bernard (Kenneth Welsh), a gung-ho lawman obsessed with nailing Papadopoulis. In short
order, the two writers are crossing paths on opposite sides of the law. Mike and Andy are absorbed into their pseudo-cop-and-robber roles, but reluctantly share their information at the end of the day; meanwhile their unsuspecting mentors, Papadopoulis and Bernard, prowl the city streets gunning
for each other on clues supplied by their young proteges.
The Papadopoulis-vs-Bernard dilemma resolves itself unsatisfactorily offscreen, and THE BIG SLICE's humor has a pointlessly cruel tone, as when Mike's new moll Jenny Colter (Leslie Hope) shoots a man and Mike comforts her: "It's okay you killed that guy. He deserved it. He had tattoos and he was
hairy." Filmmaker Bradshaw has problems with both camera placement and narrative chronology--Nick's near-fatal bullet wound heals overnight, and the writing partners finish their crime book, sell it from jail, and become celebrities all in a few days. And why does that holdup man at the beginning
suddenly clutch his throat and drop dead? He probably cut himself on one of the jaggedly eccentric reverse-camera-angles.
Nicholas Campbell makes a nicely world-weary racketeer, and Welsh's Bernard combines features of Lt. Columbo with General Patton, but the two are seldom more than scenery for the uninvolving heroes. Just as Mike acquires Jenny, Andy matches up with her roommate Rita (Heather Locklear), a
phone-sex operator, and the girls' greedy conniving helps bring the tale to a close. Despite all the cartoon violence hardly any blood is shown; the R-rating seems to apply to Rita's telephone manner and similar shenanigans. (Violence, profanity, sexual situations.)
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- Released: 1991
- Rating: R
- Review: Credit screenwriter John Bradshaw for a clever situation, but blame director John Bradshaw for mishandling THE BIG SLICE, as a heavy-handed farce that strains for too few laughs. "You gotta write about something you know about, from an intense personal e… (more)