How can you make any Rob Schneider movie even funnier? If you immediately thought of adding a few fight scenes and lots and lots of jokes about male rape then Big Stan is the film for you.
I have a bizarre viewing relationship with the films of Rob Schneider. Part of me knows that his movies are always crass and stupid and part of me still ends up enjoying them. Jeesh, I used to OWN The Animal and I cannot promise you that I would never buy it again if it was on a shelf in front of me at a bargain price (as of this moment, I have hastily closed the Amazon page to resist temptation). The movies may be pretty easy to criticise but they also have at least one or two moments that are pretty easy to laugh along with.
Big Stan is almost exactly the same as his other movies in that respect. The central concept isn't too bad - Schneider plays Stan, a man about to be sent to jail for fraud who invests his limited free time before the big day in getting his body trained to perfection (by David Carradine) - but then we get the jokes about male rape. And more jokes about male rape. And even MORE jokes about male rape. Now, I am far from the easily offended type, and I do believe that humour should have no boundaries, but rape of any kind is a hard subject to wring humour from and many of the jokes here just fall flat. Thankfully, the rest of the movie showing Stan being trained and then asserting his authority in the prison is pretty amusing. Scott Wilson (probably best known lately for his role in "The Walking Dead") is good as the scheming warden and Jennifer Morrison does just fine as Mindy, the woman who stays in love with Stan through thick and thin. There's also a very funny turn from M. Emmet Walsh as seedy lawyer, Lew Popper.
Written by Josh Lieb, and directed by Schneider, there is plenty here to enjoy if you're a fan of the main star. He runs through his usual range of witticisms and comedy faces (both of which I enjoy) and the supporting cast all add to the fun but there's just that bad taste left in the mouth by so many of the gags that detracts from the overall fun factor.
The main idea of a weak con man building himself up to be the biggest and baddest mofo in the prison is a good one and Schneider is, surprisingly, convincing enough when he kicks ass (okay, he's not going to launch an action movie career but he shows that he can pull off a few moves) but the film is half a good movie sewn into half a bad movie. Hence my rating.