Big (1988) Review

Verdict: Amusing

Great acting, and fun, but a little disturbing.


After young Josh (David Moscow) is refused entry into a carnival ride in front of his crush, he makes a wish to a sketchy looking machine. The next day, he wakes up thirty years old (Tom Hanks). His mother (Mercedes Ruehl) doesn’t believe the stranger in front of her and chases him out. Josh manages to convince his best friend, Billy (Jared Rushton) of who he is, and together they try to get Josh a job. With luck, he gets hired as a clerk in a toy company, and catches the eye of MacMillan (Robert Loggia) his boss, and Susan (Elizabeth Perkins), while Paul (John Heard) displays animosity towards him. Directed by Penny Marshall.

This must have been the original version of 13 Going on 30, which was very enjoyable for me when I was younger. While I probably relate more to 13 and wouldn’t watch Big over that, it was enjoyable as well.

Hanks does a great job at acting as a kid trapped in an adult’s body. His innocent expressions, and characteristics are typically boy like. However, it does seem to me that young Josh acted a bit more mature than the big Josh. It was more like young and old Josh could have been anyone, as the movie’s concept was just to show a kid being put into an adult’s body. Because if you look at 13, the young and old lives interact and affect the overall story, while Big doesn’t. The only overlap in characters is Billy, who also does a great job. The connection between Rushton and Hanks is well bonded and shows on screen.

The concept was unique for that time, and is relatively non-cliche for today’s world, making it still enjoyable to watch in the 21st century. The humor mainly comes from the discrepancy of an adult figure behaving, a little exaggeratedly, as a kid would. For the most part, the story presents itself as believable. However, the romance line is a little overboard for me, and felt quite disturbing to think about. Also, the character of Susan, is very questionable, especially since she’s the only main female character in the film. It doesn’t seem as if her character does much and she is predominantly used for as the typical female role.

As well, it was insinuated that she was a corporate climber which I was not expecting, and was surprised by. I understand that women like her do exist in the world, but to have the only female in the movie be of this character, is definitely questionable. Plus the fact that she has low self-esteem is a double whammy. Having been made in the 80’s it is expected, and so I won’t comment any further on that.

Another thing I didn’t really understand about the film, was the search for the arcade machine. How would there be a record of where the games are, and why would it take so long to get the results back? That was brushed over pretty quickly. Plus, in that time, the mother would surely have described her son’s disappearance and linked it to grown up Josh who appeared to know where her son is.

Overall, it is an enjoyable that’s fun to watch, but has many questionable traits.

To sum-up:
PROS: Acting, concept
CONS: Female character, story details

I give this a 7/10.

Have you seen Big? Rate it out of 5 stars above or leave a comment below!


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