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It's been a little while since I've seen The Big Lebowski (1998) but I remember The Dude having a string of car problems. At one point his car is stolen for a briefcase full of money. The Dude does recover his car--albeit in poor shape--and finds some kid's homework inside. When he and Walter follow up on this, it seems they come to the conclusion that the kid had nothing to do with it.

Am I forgetting a detail or was this just a red herring? I know it originated from an anecdote the Coen brothers heard, so did they just throw it in because they thought it funny or does it have some bearing on the plot?

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Good question! I think I might rewatch it this weekend to see if I can piece this together. –  DForck42 Feb 3 '12 at 20:54
    
I have a crazy theory. Jesus (a known pedo) was there the night the car was stolen. He also lived in the same part of town as little Larry. Now who would make a likely victim for someone like that? –  RMorrison Nov 16 '13 at 6:13
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up vote 14 down vote accepted

Larry did, in fact, steal The Dude's car.

Larry stole the car, and took it for a joy-ride, then abandoned it. The homework was in there simply because Larry wasn't terribly smart, and didn't seem to particularly care about getting caught.

The theft caused The Dude and Walter a great deal of stress simply because they had not yet realized that Lebowski had duped them. If Lebowski had actually given them the ransom money, then Larry would have been a likely candidate for where the money went, and therefore is a major plot point... up until we find out that the ransom money, and everything related to it, was in fact a red herring the whole time.

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That makes sense. The nihilists couldn't have had anything to do with it because they were still expecting the briefcase money. Larry probably got the ringer but didn't want to say anything to Walter and The Dude probably because it would just implicate him further. Thanks! –  Verge Feb 7 '12 at 2:08
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No, it's not really related to the plot. The only thing that happens is the dude's car getting smashed.

It is however related to the theme of the movie: mistaken identity.

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