Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Capsule Movie Review: Gigantic

Gigantic **
Directed by:
Matt Aselton
Written By: Matt Aselton & Adam Nagata.
Starring: Paul Dano (Brian), Zooey Deschanel (Happy), John Goodman (Happy’s Dad), Edward Asner (Brian’s Dad), Jane Alexander (Brian’s Mom).

Gigantic is a strange romantic comedy. It doesn’t quite follow the formula that Hollywood sets out for the genre, but it doesn’t stray too far either. It stars Paul Dano in an interesting performance as Brian young man who works in a mattress salesman in Manhattan. It’s there that he meets a strange young woman named Happy (Zooey Deschanell) and her boisterous father (John Goodman). Brian and Happy are both lost souls of a sort, and in each other they find someone who understands them. Brian’s goal has always been to adopt a Chinese baby, and while most people deride his ambition, Happy somehow understands it. For her part, Happy has spent her life drifting from one dead end career to another, never really having to worry about it since her father is extremely rich. The performances by Dano, Deschanel and Goodman are all quite good, as are Edward Asner and Jane Alexander as Brian’s parents (who obviously had him later in life). Deschanel in particular is quite lovely and fun in the film, but then again, I believe I may be in love with her, so I'm hardly objective. But the movie has a terminal case of the “quirks”. Every character, from the smallest to the largest roles, all have to have some sort of weird personality trait. Then there is the distractingly bad subplot about a homeless man who keeps showing up to attack Brian for no reason at all (at least not one that the filmmakers feel the need to tell us about). The movie is interesting and entertaining in parts, but it doesn’t add up to anything. The movie never really figures out what it wants to be. In short, it’s a mildly entertaining mess.

Note: I saw this film at the Toronto Film Festival last September, and this is the mini-review I wrote at the time. I don't think it's one of my best reviews, as it was dashed off rather quickly, as I never actually thought the film would see the light of day again. I do think it probably captures the movie pretty well. In those inevitable conversations you have with people in lines during the festival - the film came up again and again. Normally in answer to the question "What's the worst film you saw this year?" The film isn't that bad, but as I noted in my review it isn't that good either. The film is being released on a few screens in the USA, so I decided to post my review. It may never actually make it up here until Home Video. In any format though, you can feel safe in skipping it.

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