Starring: Greg Grunberg, Ray Wise, Clare Kramer
Genre: Sci-Fi/ Comedy/ B movie
I think it is fair to say the title pretty much sums up the plot, but just in case you need more: Due to a military mix up a giant alien spider escapes from a military lab and ends ups in a body bag sent to the morgue of a hospital in downtown Los Angeles where it bites the unfortunate mortician. Also there, after being bitten by a (different) spider, is pest controller Alex Mathis (Grunberg) who after seeing the mortician bitten vows to find this spider. Then the military turn up and after the spider escapes both Alex and the military must find and destroy this ever growing spider before it becomes a, err big ass spider, and not only becomes invincible but gives birth to more big ass spiders, which would probably be a bad thing.
I know what you are all thinking, as I was thinking it too, it is another God awful b movie that is only going to be good simply because it is so God damn bad! Well, I found Big Ass Spider to well and truly exceed my admittedly low expectations. Yes of course the CGI is not very good, but thankfully Director Mendez keeps the use of it to a minimum, though once the spider becomes a big ass one that is slightly unavoidable, but considering the budget it is fine. This is a film that well and truly knows its place, and embraces that making for a very enjoyable and genuinely funny experience. In what may well be a first for a film of this type, the laughs are predominantly WITH, rather than AT.
What for me made Big Ass Spider such tremendous fun is not only is the tone perfectly judged, but it has a surprisingly strong and witty script by Gregory Gieras. It is happy to constantly poke fun at itself and everything is delivered in a suitably (and slightly relieving) tongue in cheek tone. In the lead role, Greg Grunberg (those of us Brits that have watched Tricky Happy TV will certainly think he bears an uncanny resemblance to someone else) has a knack for comic timing, and the ensuing buddy act he has going with a very stereotypical Mexican security guard called Jose Ramos (Lombardo Boyar) provides many of the laughs. The two actors are obviously having tremendous fun and their banter is great fun to watch.
When proceedings are all so much fun and the banter and great lines keep on coming the cheap CGI and plot holes are easy to forgive here. Also prepare for a superb one liner at the climax of the final action set piece! It is also great to see that Ray Wise (Leland Palmer to us Twin Peaks fans) still gets acting jobs, and he hams it up perfectly as the slightly eccentric military major. We also have a pipe smoking, dodgy hat wearing scientist called Lucas (Patrick Bauchau) who cannot pronounce ‘arachnid’ properly (that is intentional, and there are plenty of jokes about it), when that happens you know not to take anything particularly seriously.
Though it is hardly The Shawshank Redemption, and of course no one should rush to see Big Ass Spider, if you want an extremely enjoyable 80 minutes of escapist big ass arachnid fun with actual genuine laughs then you could do far worse than this.