8 years

The Big Easy (1986) – Review

Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin star in this 80's romance...

Remy McSwain, the face of the law in New Orleans, is a likeable guy. Likeable not only because he’s played by the charming Dennis Quaid, but likeable too because he’s not afraid to let loose. This carefree attitude however gets him into bother and, when murders begin to take place in his town, he must battle to find out who’s behind it… as well as battling his attraction to district attorney Ann Osbourne (Ellen Barkin).

We may say battle, but for McSwaine it all seems like another day at the office and Osbourne soon McSwoons (sorry) for the affable lead. She in turn faces her own problems – not only must she carry out her investigations into the legitimacy of the police in New Orleans, she must also try and juggle her feelings for McSwaine and his crooked ways.

While The Big Easy isn’t exactly a commanding watch, it’s not poor either – it is simply watchable and, with the title being suggested by Quaid himself, it’s nice to know that the two leads consider this to be their favourite movie that they’ve made.

The leads have their share of arguments and McSwaine is soon caught accepting bribes from a local business placing Osbourne in a tricky situation. It all eventually works out of course, but not before some damning revelations are made… along with some dodgy stuntmanship (watch out for a very un-Quaid looking McSwaine running away from the explosive conclusion).

The film capitalises on its use of tongue-in-cheek scripting and, especially when McSwaine’s police buddy’s rally to clear his name, you know it’s not a film to take too seriously. Jim McBride does a good job in the director’s chair whilst John Goodman provides entertaining support to the two leads. The Big Easy is pleasant enough whilst the romance struck between Quaid and Barkin is sultry making, overall, for a Big Easy watch.

Dennis Quaid’s brother Randy is the drunken pilot from Independence Day.

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