So this is how it ends for Rob Schneider? For a man who created several indelible characters on Saturday Night Live and in several hit films, Schneiders latest opus has been delayed in post production and finally released direct to DVD in Big Stan.
Schneider plays the title character, a con man sentenced to prison for bilking an old woman out of her life savings. Stans fear of jailhouse rape leads him to a martial arts expert (David Carradine), who trains him to prevent said “man-raping.” When his skills earn him the respect of his fellow inmates, and peace breaks out amongst the violent predators, a corrupt warden (Scott Wilson) makes Stan choose between his newfound friends or potential freedom. Sandwiched between is the usual combination of low brow jokes and gross out humor that comprises a film from Adam Sandlers second fiddle.
And surprisingly for a Schneider film, which he also directed and produced, is that its surprisingly endearing and funny. It contains all the usual low brow humor Schneiders films are known for, as hes never been one to rely on sophisticated humor, but it reaches something his films havent quite got to: a sort of respectability. Its not a funny movie by any stretch of the means but it isnt stupefying bad either. Thats an accomplishment in and of itself from a man whose major claim to fame prior to this was two Deuce Bigalow films.
Schneider, never the best actor in the world, finds an interesting depth in Stan that is shocking for a gross out comedy that panders towards the 13 year old in all of us. This isnt a grand character that will win any awards, but its stronger than usual. Big Stan isnt a good film by any stretch, but it isnt dreadful. Considering Schneiders past, thats a major leap.
Presented in a Dolby Digital format with a widescreen presentation, the DVD has a surprisingly good transfer. This is a film that alternates between being colorful, before Stan goes to jail, and bleak, when Stan is in prison, and each aspect of the film looks wonderfully.
Comedy is Pain: The Making of Big Stan is a piece looking at the film and is surprisingly funny and entertaining. Running around 30 minutes, its a pretty comprehensive look at why Schneider did the film and how hard he worked on it.
Odds & Ends: Hilarious Outtakes from the cast &crew is your usual collection of outtakes from the filming process.
A Commentary Track from Schneider, Buddy Lewis and Salvator Zuereb is included as well.
Its sad in a way that Rob Schneiders latest opus wont get a theatrical release, as its a step forward after years of horrible, horrible films. Being merely bad is an improvement and its a shame that Big Stan didnt get an opportunity to find an audience in theatres.
HBO Video presents Big Stan. Directed by Rob Schneider. Starring Rob Schneider, David Carradine, Jennifer Morrison, Randy Couture, Bob Sapp. Written by Josh Lieb. Running time: 109 minutes. Rated R. Released on DVD: March 24, 2009. Available at Amazon.
Tags: David Carradine, Randy Couture