26 Nov 2009
The most frustrating thing about Gigantic is that, somewhere underneath the surface is a perfectly decent comedy just screaming to be let out. Sadly, said film is buried under layer after layer of quirky, self-indulgent dialogue, and other irrelevant indie affectations, resulting in an intriguing and unique concept quickly becoming tiresome and irritating. No film with John Goodman in it can ever be all bad (except Blues Brothers 2000), but then no film with a character called Happy who mostly reads magazine ads can aspire to be anything than an idiosyncratic piece of fluff, irrespective of the strength of it’s individual performances.
Gigantic tells the story of Brian (the always excellent Paul Dano), a mattress salesman whose lifelong obsession is to adopt a Chinese baby. Brian’s world is thrown into upheaval by the arrival of the aforementioned Happy (the always beautiful Zooey Deschanel), the unusual rich girl that most lonely and wan guys like Brian dream will one day walk into their life, but Happy is more like an adolescent fantasy than anything resembling a real human being (sample line of dialogue, “Do you have any interest in having sex with me.
The last few years have seen several films of this ilk (Little Miss Sunshine, Juno) containing characters that dangerously flirt between appearing genuine one moment, and a focus-grouped attempt to define “hip” the next, but for her occasionally annoying speech patterns, and her tendency to say things no 16 year-old girl ever would, the difference between Juno MacGuff and Harriett “Happy” Lolly is like night and day. It’s almost as if first-time director Matt Aselton went through his perfectly acceptable first-draft and decided it wasn’t weird enough and had to up the ante. Stalkers? Check. Magic mushrooms? Check. Massage parlours? Check. A single believable exchange by characters you can relate to? Nowhere to be found. Sorry, but as far as disappointments go, this one is Gigantic.
Matthew Kleebauer Trailer: