'The Big White: Special Edition' [Blu-ray]
(Robin Williams, Holly Hunter, Giovanni Ribisi, Woody Harrelson, et al / Blu-ray / R / (2005) 2019 / MVD Visual)
Overview: After finding a frozen corpse in a dumpster, Alaskan travel agent Paul (Robin Williams) decides to use it to claim his long-lost brother's life insurance policy.
However, the body is also sought by two dangerous hitmen.
'The Big White: Special Edition' [Blu-ray] is out May 14th, 2019 via MVD Visual.
Blu-ray Verdict: In 'The Big White', a failing Alaskan travel agency owner (Robin Williams playing his Jack Dundee character from 'The Best of Times') schemes to collect on his missing brother's life insurance policy by claiming that a dead body he finds in a dumpster is that of his brother.
Things become complicated when two bumbling (possibly gay) hoods (Tim Blake Nelson and W. Earl Brown) kidnap his wife (Holly Hunter) because they need the body to prove that they have carried out a contract killing.
Hunter's character may or may not have Tourette's Syndrome, a psychological condition which may or may not have comic potential in a feature film. But we will have to wait for a better script and a better to director to find out because the results are inconclusive here.
The main side story involves an obsessive insurance investigator (Giovanni Ribisi) and his air-headed telephone psychic girlfriend (Alison Lohman).
Their scenes together provide the film's best moments and the only times when it manages to duplicate 'Fargo's almost poetic humor. Ribisi is solid in all his scenes and you wish Lohman's part was bigger.
And yes, the 'Fargo' rip-off comparisons are valid, but that does not mean that there is much about 'The Big White' with which 'Fargo' fans will connect.
The similarities are pretty much confined to setting (Alaska instead of Minnesota), production design (white), and basic plot elements (two bumbling hoods, financially desperate businessman, kidnapped and bound wife), and a side story featuring an odd domestic couple (an insurance investigator instead of a female sheriff)!
That said, the 'Fargo' disconnects are more subtle. Instead of a crime thriller with black comedy elements, 'The Big White' is a black comedy with crime thriller elements.
Which would not be a problem except that 'Fargo's' occasional ironic comical moments have several times more amusement value than 'The Big White's' frenzied efforts to inject some humor.
In closing, if you like small off-kilter films (with big name actors having fun with their performances) you would be far better served by 'Dummy' (2002) and 'The Big Empty' (2003).
For, and in my humble and yet highly personal opinion, 'The Big White' tries for the feel of these two films but falls short. This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The Big White Behind the Scenes Featurette
Original Theatrical Trailer