The Big Easy | Chicago Reader

The Big Easy

The least personal and most commercial of Jim McBride's theatrical features, this 1987 film reworks a hackneyed crooked-cop story by Daniel Petrie Jr. (Beverly Hills Cop). McBride gets tense, sexy performances from Dennis Quaid and Ellen Barkin, makes the most of his New Orleans locations, and conjures up lots of good vibes and atmosphere. But as in some Cajun cooking, it's the spices rather than the meat that impart the essential McBride flavor: offbeat secondary casting (the great Charles Ludlam as an eye-rolling defense attorney) and a use of props ranging from the surreal (Mardi Gras floats in a warehouse) to the homey (Quaid's squeaking gator doll). 108 min.

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