Synopsis: In Gigantic, A mattress salesman with plans to adopt a Chinese baby has his life turned upside down when a young woman falls asleep on one of his beds.
Release Date: April 3, 2009 MPAA Rating: PG-13
Genre(s): Comedy, Romantic Comedy
Great movies transform the bored spectator into an active participant by completely transporting him or her to another world. It could be a fantastical world full of adventure or a bleak reality full of loneliness and despair. Either or, the viewer expects some kind of fulfillment from a film after dedicating two hours of life to sitting in front of a flickering screen. If it’s a comedy, we want to laugh, if it’s a drama, we long for tension and emotion, and even from a documentary based on actuality, we crave insight and the sense that we learned something new. In a way, Gigantic tries to be all of these things, but it fails miserably because it tries too hard to be original, quirky, and to be “real.”
There probably is a true to life Brian Weathersby (Paul Dano) in the world; a guy who speaks in monotonous whispers devoid of enthusiasm because his life consists of a monotonous day to day routine selling mattresses trapped in a damp warehouse. But who cares? At least 90% of the world’s population hates what they do for a living so why does Brian Weathersby deserve a movie? Okay, he’s oddly obsessed with adopting a Chinese baby and he gets beat up by an imaginary bum, but these forced eccentricities don’t make sense at all and they don’t make up for holes in story development. Yes, real life often makes no sense, people come and go, and random things happen out of nowhere, but film cannot function this way. Filmmaking is an art form that requires skillful planning and masterful manipulation in order to simulate real life. It needs to make sense, we need to know characters in order to empathize, and randomness is not a substitute for story. Watching Gigantic is like observing people at the mall: it’s interesting enough, but a movie? That would be far too boring.
Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel are both young, attractive, and eccentric. As Brian Weathersby and Harriet “Happy” Lolly they are perfectly suited to each other and perfectly cast. The problem, however, is the movie sucks. Gigantic‘s script never really fully explores their relationship and so we’re never granted the opportunity to accurately gauge Paul’s and Zooey’s true chemistry.
I don’t think I laughed once in Gigantic. Okay, I may have chuckled for a millisecond during a random scene of raunchiness featuring some adulterous businessmen getting their johnsons worked under a towel in a “massage” parlor. In addition to that though? Nada. There’s plenty of quirk to go around: a lab guy who drinks blue vodka out of his beakers, a lab assistant who admits to working on “gerbil dicks”, a Dad old enough to be a Grandfather who swallows shrooms in order to find shrooms, and John Goodman who needs to lie on his back for the majority of the film. All of these “unique” characters should be ripe with comedy, but they’re not. The characters in Gigantic are forced, the jokes insincere, and the funny situations to subtle to be existent. Go find someone to tickle you even if you’re not ticklish, you’ll have better luck at finding laughs.
Cast and Crew
- Director(s): Matt Aselton
- Screenwriters: Matt Aselton, Adam NagataPaul Dano (Brian Weathersby)
- Cast: Paul Dano (Brian Weathersby), Zooey Deschanel (Harriet ‘Happy’ Lolly), Edward Asner (Mr. Weathersby), Jane Alexander (Mrs. Weathersby), John Goodman (Al Lolly)
- Country Of Origin: USA