This film is the next best thing to having a friend who makes you laugh. Like life, there is no neat start and end to it, rather the Coen brothers do a suggestion at narrative, by cloaking several events together and finding some sort of interconnectedness between them. Oh, yes, and they provide you with the recipe for making milky, vodka-Kahlua cocktail called a ‘White Russian’.
Jeff Bridges, as Jeff Lebowski is superb as a laid-back, street-smart, no-hoper, who gets roughed up in a case of mistaken identity. The man the goons are actually looking for has the same name, but is a senior citizen in a wheelchair. He is very wealthy and employs “Dude” (as Jeff Bridges character likes to be called) to complete an easy job for him. Of course, things go awry and that leads to a great deal of the comedy. The part I like best is when Dude finishes nailing a plank to the floor, to support a chair that is leaned against the door to prevent the thugs from having easy access to the house, and the thugs simply walk in through the door. Dude did not check which way the door opened and so the chair and brace are completely ineffective! Of course, later on, when Dude returns to his house, the plank is still nailed to the floor, and of course, Dude falls over it. It’s a bit of a metaphor for life. We so often expend time and energy constructing things that are ineffective and then we are the ones they end up tripping up!
Julianne Moore, who plays Maud, the daughter of The Big Lebowski is brilliant as an uptight, feisty artist who is so brittle she could shatter at any minute. Completely believable as a ‘tough-on-the exterior-fragile-on-the-interior’ bowling friend to the Dude, is John Goodman as Walter Sobchek. The loose plot is compensated by vivid characterisation all round – Philip Seymour Hoffman as the sycophantic PA, Brandt, is mesmerising.
F bombs abound in this film. They rain down ceaselessly and this, combined with references to the porn industry (a clip of a porno movie is shown) and drug use, make it a film for a mature and tolerant audience. However, watching this film is a rite of passage for anyone who is seriously into cinema, or who anyone who has a crazy friend who spends their days in pyjamas and has lots of problems but no real worries. Maybe, (big wink) compared to stressed-out, overworked you and me, that friend is not so crazy after all!