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Two sets of identical twins are mismatched at birth. Forty years later, their paths cross amid the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, and the result is unrestrained pandemonium.
For more about Big Business and the Big Business Blu-ray release, see Big Business Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on April 26, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Bette Midler, Lily Tomlin, Fred Ward, Edward Herrmann, Michele Placido, Daniel Gerroll
Director: Jim Abrahams
» See full cast & crew
Big Business Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, April 26, 2011
It's a girl!
Big city style crossed with small town charm meets four of a kind from a pair of decks that were one day accidentally mis-shuffled. Or something like that. Big Business is a zany Comedy about two sets of two of a kind that come together through a stoke of fate to find what they've been missing: one another and the ways of life they've so craved since birth. Big Business is one of the fluffiest, most cheerful go-get-'ems to come out of Hollywood in a long time, a throwback movie that's built on chance and coincidence with a sprinkling of fate and a heaping helping of four times the fun. Bette Midler and Lilly Tomlin, surrounded by a super supporting cast, ignite the screen with two -- or is it four -- of the funniest performances in a long time, each playing two distinct characters that couldn't be any more different yet seem to share some innate characteristics that the actresses must subtly but surely inject into the parts. It sounds complicated, but Big Business is big fun, a movie that's as charming and playful as it is sweet and touching.
On a hot, sticky day in the middle of 1940s nowhere -- or more specifically, Jupiter Hollow, West Virginia -- wealthy city folk by the name of Shelton are forced to stop at a low-rent country hospital so the misses can have her babies somewhere other than the backseat of the car. Of course, the hospital could only take her in after the couple purchased the factory that owned it. At the same time, a country bumpkin and his very pregnant wife -- the Ratliff family -- show up at the same hospital; she's about to burst, and the understaffed facility is suddenly brimming with activity, so much that when both couples deliver sets of twins, the babies are mistakenly mixed up, one from each mother going into the other couple's cradle. What's more, after the city folks choose to name their daughters Sadie and Rose, the country family, in turn, graces their children with the same names.
Years later, sisters Sadie (Bette Midler) and Rose (Lily Tomlin) Shelton are living the high life as the CEO and vice president, respectively, of the prestigious Moramax corporation in New York City. Sadie thrives on the hustle and bustle of city life and the challenges of the board room, but Rose doesn't quite feel at home in the concrete jungle. Sadie and her business associates one day choose to take a plan of action to close down a little wood-making subsidiary company called Hollowmade, located in the sleepy country town of, where else, Jupiter Hollow. It just so happens that Rose Ratliff (Lily Tomlin) is foreman of Hollowmade, and her sister Sadie (Bette Midler) is a willing but unsatisfied companion in their rustic little business and small town way of life. Rose is more than happy with her life, but Sadie craves something more, something exciting, like life in the big city. When the Ratliff's receive word that Moramax is going to close them down, Rose and Sadie head up to New York to stop it. As chance would have it, they're regularly mistaken for their long-lost twins, the confusion complicated by the fact that they've both managed to check into the same hotel and are placed in adjacent rooms.
Big Business is a good old fashioned Comedy of errors that merrily goes about getting every last mile out of each little coincidence, case of mistaken identity, and the interplay between the twins and sisters who are so close to one another yet so far away, whether sisters by birth or sisters by happenstance. Big Business positively shines through its role reversals and the many twists and turns that ensue; it's very smartly written, and for all of the complexities inherent to the plot, Director Jim Abrahams (Airplane!, Ruthless People, Hot Shots!) keeps things effortlessly flowing and easy to follow, even when characters are scattered all over the place and nobody but the audience, really, knows exactly who is who at any given time. It's fantastic stuff, ripe for laughs, and the film doesn't miss a single one of them. The actresses are wonderful, too; both Tomlin and Midler shine in their dual roles, managing to carry over some basic traits from one character to another while painting them as unique individuals with a lifetime's worth influences colliding with innate characteristics inherited from their parents and their places in life alike.
Indeed, Big Business is another movie that posits the question as to whether a person is innately prone to one way of being or another, or if their environments, upbringings, and other external influences mold them into who they are. This is more or less the light Comedy version of the same idea that made up the thematic center of An Innocent Man; both pictures take different routes towards the same conclusion, which states that life is a combination of natural and external influences, some of which may not be readily evident but that may rise from dormancy when life's challenges require them to materialize. In Big Business, two of the four sisters -- those two living with the wrong set of parents and in the "wrong" environment -- find themselves accepting their circumstances but drawn towards where their natural roots lie. It's that push and pull from a natural happy medium that's the basis for the humor. Big Business feels like a bigger, more complex version of Baby Boom, the fantastic Dianne Keaton Comedy that featured a city slicker necessarily moving away from her comfort zone and into the country where she finds a peace she never knew in the rapid-fire pace of the big city. Big Business is, of course, taken to a much greater level with additional and more complex characters and with exponentially zanier results.
Big Business Blu-ray, Video Quality
Big Business features a steady and relatively strong Blu-ray transfer. After some wobbly opening credits, the image settles down and is free of most any kind of intrusive artifacts or digital manipulations; pops and scratches are scarce, and blocking, banding, and edge enhancement are non-issues. On the plus side, the image retains a layer of film grain that accentuates the rather strong details that are evident throughout. Big Business features a generally crisp and sharp image that's also nicely detailed even in distant shots, giving the transfer a nice sense of realistic depth. Colors are vibrant and pleasing, and black levels and flesh tones are steadily neutral. Only occasional bouts of softness mar the image. A job well done by Mill Creek.
Big Business Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Big Business features a plain and oftentimes bland DTS-HD MA 2.0 lossless soundtrack. The film opens with a terribly crunchy and cramped musical presentation, but things liven up significantly afterwards, though the track is generally absent much in the way of perceptible and significant range. Music can be energetically spunky while trying to spread out across the front, but most everything else falls almost straight up the middle. A few ambient effects try their hardest to find their way into the further reaches of the soundstage, even if they would be limited to the front; whether microphone reverberations at a country festival, crowd applause, or additional ambience, Mill Creek's soundtrack at least tries to find a greater range even if it doesn't really succeed in doing so. Fortunately, dialogue is satisfactorily clean in delivery. This isn't by any means a bad track; it's just lacking.
Big Business Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Big Business contains no special features.
Big Business Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Big Business is a fun little movie with two huge stars playing four larger-than-life characters pulling off one hilarious gag after another. Easy to enjoy, a blast to watch, and defined by two wonderful performances, Big Business is a classically-styled Comedy that never wears out its welcome or overextends its primary gag. Mill Creek's Blu-ray release of Big Business features a fairly lackluster soundtrack and no extras, but the video presentation is quite good, all things considered. Recommended.
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Big Business Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Blu-ray Wave from Mill Creek in May - March 25, 2011
On May 10, Mill Creek Entertainment will release 11 movies on Blu-ray: Betsy's Wedding, Big Business, Consenting Adults, Gross Anatomy, The Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag, An Innocent Man, The Marrying Man, Money For Nothing, My Father the Hero, Straight Talk, and ...
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