Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Michael Blowen
    Big is an example of what has become rare in Hollywood -- a self-confident comedy that transforms an old gimmick into a new, vivid experience. It's as funny for the kids as it is for adults and, for that reason alone, can't be recommended too highly. [3 Jun 1988, p.33]
  2. Once again, the overall premise is milked for some mild titillation involving the hero's sexual innocence, making one wonder if the genre's popularity might involve some deeply sublimated form of kiddie porn--arguably the distilled ideological essence of squeaky-clean Reaganism.
  3. Reviewed by: Llyod Sachs
    It's too involved in administering its reversion fantasy to acquisition-guilty yuppies to cast an eye on its own venture status. And the contradictions don't stop there. That this celebration of the Peter Pan syndrome was directed by a woman, Penny Marshall, adds another layer of dishonesty. [3 Jun 1988, p.31]
  4. 75
    Big moves with polish and assurance. It's too soon to tell whether Marshall has anything of her own to say, but Big is proof that she can handle the Hollywood machine, and that is no small thing.
  5. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    As a crowd-pleasing comedy it works. But it really could have been so much more.
  6. The greatest thing about Big is that its makers have known how to end it in a thoroughly satisfying fashion, which is always the challenge-and often the stumbling block-of fantasy. In never confusing what is child-like with childishness, Big is actually a refreshingly grown-up comedy-for the entire family. [3 Jun 1988, p.1]
  7. Reviewed by: Jay Boyar
    Dec 16, 2013
    The setup isn't exactly what you'd call plausible, but the follow-through is consistent and clever.
  8. Reviewed by: Desmond Ryan
    Dec 16, 2013
    Penny Marshall brings a logic to the premise that is sustained through most of the movie. And where the other movies snickered at the sexual possibilities in the idea, she faces up to them with both candor and taste.
  9. Reviewed by: James Berardinelli
    Dec 16, 2013
    Although Big is generally lighthearted, it rarely plays for stupid laughs. There are a few of these, but the film avoids sacrificing character integrity for the cheap guffaw.
  10. Sappiness and romance always are fine with me, and Big is a good example of a movie that effortlessly blends sweetness and fun - it feels a little like stumbling on a picnic of smiles. [3 Jun 1988, p.E1]
  11. Reviewed by: Keith Phipps
    Dec 16, 2013
    It’s a funny, bittersweet film that opens as a cautionary tale about growing up too fast, but deepens into a movie about the unplumbable gulf between childhood and adulthood, and what it feels like to stand on either side, wishing for a way over.
  12. Sure, the premise is identical age-reversal comedies, but this one uses a much higher octane, animating a tired idea with a timeless script, and the result is pop humor at its most appealing - wit and charm spiced with a measured pinch of farce and just the right hint of melancholy. [3 Jun 1988, p.E1]
  13. Big features believable young teen-age mannerisms from the two real boys in its cast, and this only makes Mr. Hanks's funny, flawless impression that much more adorable. This really is the performance to beat.
  14. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Big is a winning, charming film, primarily because Hanks makes it work. He is extraordinarily convincing as an adolescent who suddenly finds himself dealing with a new, adult body, responsibilities, and a romantic relationship, while simultaneously trying to survive vicious corporate infighting.
  15. Reviewed by: Donna Britt
    Unpretentious as it is, Big takes you beyond laughter, to where you live. And there's nothing small about that. [3 Jun 1988, p.1D]
  16. Reviewed by: Staff [Not Credited]
    A 13-year-old junior high kid Josh (David Moscow) is transformed into a 35-year-old's body (Tom Hanks) by a carnival wishing machine in this pic which unspools with enjoyable genuineness and ingenuity.
  17. I am glad to be able to say that all these clever and talented people have actually come up with the goods. The biggest goodie is Tom Hanks as the little boy after his wish has been granted. Much of the comedy in this movie is physical. Without forcing the matter Mr. Hanks has a startling ability to take on the mannerisms and facial expressions of an adolescent. [2 Jun 1988, p.1]
  18. Reviewed by: Joe Brown
    Big is never condescending to or smuttily smirky about kids. And it doesn't make fun of grownups, either. It just feels sorry for them a little. [3 Jun 1988, p.n37]
  19. 70
    Big has a warmhearted sweetness that's invigorating; it makes you want to break out the Legos. It's only near the end of the film, when Hanks has to play the scenes for pathos, that the movie becomes cloying.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 7
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 7
  3. Negative: 1 out of 7
  1. Sep 15, 2011
    The movie is cheesy and childish; the only thing that holds the movie in one piece is Tom Hanks.
  2. Dec 25, 2014
    When thirteen year old Josh Bashkin (Hanks) is unable to ride the roller-coasters at the theme park he makes he wish that he was bigger.When thirteen year old Josh Bashkin (Hanks) is unable to ride the roller-coasters at the theme park he makes he wish that he was bigger. Waking the next morning he finds he has suddenly become an adult.

    Big has been imitated many times over the years but, thanks in large part to the excellent central performance from Tom Hanks, it has never been bettered. One of the 80's best feel good movies.
    Full Review »
  3. Apr 18, 2014
    Big is a pretty good comedy overall with a touching story to boot. Throughout, laughs are provided as you watch the absurdity of theBig is a pretty good comedy overall with a touching story to boot. Throughout, laughs are provided as you watch the absurdity of the situations that Josh Baskin finds himself in and that is coupled with a touching story that we can all relate to as we age (though not quite as rapidly, haha). The film is admittedly a little cheesy at times, but it never really bothered me honestly. In the lead role, Tom Hanks is killer and plays the grown up overnight role perfectly and really embodies the little "ticks" you would expect from somebody who underwent the transformation he underwent. Overall, this film is far from a cinematic masterpiece, but is a cute little comedy that is endlessly enjoyable. Full Review »