It is clear that Phil, who is perhaps 15 years older than Larry and has recently been divorced, has lost the will to sell. While Larry seems to harbor genuine love for his longtime buddy, he is still burning with testosterone-fueled ambition. Larry knows how to deal with Phil, but he is less prepared for the third member of their team, Bob (Peter Facinelli), a wide-eyed rookie from the research department who has been sent to the convention to explain the technical aspects of the company's wares. Bob is pleasant enough, but humorless and deadly earnest -- precisely the opposite of Larry, it seems -- which only serves to provoke Larry into coruscating verbal attacks. Phil halfheartedly defends the young guy. But the tensions in the room escalate as all three await the arrival of the executive they want to court -- a.k.a. "The Big Kahuna." It doesn't take a crystal ball to realize that it's Bob, the green kid with no apparent sales skills, who is going to be the one to snag The Big Kahuna's attention. Only slightly less obvious is that Bob, who has been established as irritatingly pious, is more interested in selling Jesus than industrial lubricants.
Rueff and Swanbeck have added a few brief fantasy sequences, as well as some insignificant scenes outside of the hospitality suite, but for the most part The Big Kahuna is a three-person play masquerading as a movie. That's not always a bad thing: Some plays -- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Balcony, and No Exit, for example -- depend on a sense of claustrophobia; even minor "opening up" of the action dissipates their power. While The Big Kahuna may be one of those plays, it doesn't have enough power in the first place to make a strong claim on our attentions.
Spacey is the main reason to watch; as is always the case, even in his less compelling films, he manages to impress through sheer force of talent. But there is way too little else going on here.
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