Danny asks the lovely Joanna on a date in his XJ6 Jag, only, he doesn't own one. After exchanging his parents' beloved car only to find he's got a dud in return. His revenge-pursuit of the dodgy dealer earns him Joanna's heart.
The Big Steal starts off as just another film about winning the heart of the prettiest girl in school, and ends up as a refreshing variation on the teenage revenge movie - a kind of Porkys with brains. When Danny, all bashful looks and lumpy throat, asks Joanna out on a date in his XJ6 Jag, there's only one problem: he doesn't own one. So he wangles an old one in part exchange for his parents' beloved 1963 Cedric, discovers it's a dud, takes revenge on the shark who sold it to him, and wins the admiration of the fair Joanna.
That The Big Steal doesn't degenerate into pure spotty herbert hokum is due mostly to David Parker's odd, witty script (Danny's mum wins scrabble with words like 'penis envy', Joanna's dad bellows "Don't you touch her breasts!" on their first date). Tass directs as if she were Bill Forsyth, getting inside her characters without getting in the way of the plot, and the largely unknown cast is uniformly excellent - particularly Bisley as the ghastly second-hand car dealer Gordon Farkas.
Like the earlier Tass/Parker hit, Malcolm, The Big Steal demonstrates that there's more down under than a bunch of crappy soaps, and is worth a few bob of anyone's money.
The Big Steal demonstrates that there's more down under than a bunch of crappy soaps, and is worth a few bob of anyone's money.