The Big Kahuna is a 2000 movie adapted from a play entitled Hospitality Suite, written by Roger Rueff, who also wrote the screenplay. John Swanbeck, the director, makes few attempts to lessen this film's resemblance to a stage performance: the majority of the movie takes place in a single hotel room, and nearly every single line of dialogue is spoken by one of the three actors.
plays Larry Mann, a relentlessly foul-mouthed cynic; Danny DeVito
plays Phil Cooper, a world-weary average Joe; and Peter Facinelli
is Bob Walker, a devout and earnest young Baptist
. The three are industrial lubricant salesmen, sent to land a very important account, a rich businessman they refer to as The Big Kahuna
. As the night progresses, Larry unleashes a torrent of scathingly funny witticisms, most directed at Bob, but finds himself relying on the newest member of the trio when their quarry invites Bob (and only Bob) to an exclusive party.
While Phil and Larry wait for Bob to bring them the news that could end their careers, they muse over the meaning of life. Bob finally returns and offers a bombshell: rather than try to sell their product, he has instead chosen to talk to the man with deep pockets about … religion. In the face of Larry's towering outrage, Bob stands fast for all that is pure and true. But Bob is unable to muster any reply at all when Phil quietly explains how he sees no difference at all between Bob's preaching and Larry's fast-talking.
- Larry Mann: "Well, I'll be a son of a bitch! I don't smoke, you don't drink, and Bob here wouldn't even think about lusting after another woman! Between the three of us, we're practically Jesus!"
- Bob Walker: "Throw me in the water and see if I can swim."
Larry Mann: "I think you're missing the point here, Bob. We're about to throw you off a cliff and see if you can fly."
- Phil Cooper: "It doesn't matter whether you're selling Jesus or Buddha or civil rights or 'How to Make Money in Real Estate With No Money Down'. That doesn't make you a human being; it makes you a marketing rep. If you want to talk to somebody honestly, as a human being, ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are – just to find out, for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it's not a conversation anymore; it's a pitch. And you're not a human being; you're a marketing rep."
- Larry Mann: "Phil... man, we're in Wichita, Kansas. What does it matter whether we're on the 1st floor or the 500th floor? It all looks the same!"
- The famous 1997 essay Wear Sunscreen is featured at the end of the movie.