Vivendi Visual Entertainment // 2009 // 98 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge Daniel Kelly (Retired) // August 11th, 2009
A big comedy about the little things in life
Exactly what did I just watch? If my initial thoughts are correct, it might be the most bizarre but inconsequential film to come along for some time, a quirky little number that despite all its eccentricities might be 2009's most unremarkable movie to date. Gigantic has an offbeat sense of humor and a positively wacky homicidal homeless guy at its disposal, but the storyline on offer is shockingly mundane. It might not be your usual rom-com but it's as boring as most of the formulaic dross the genre generates.
Brian (Paul Dano, Little Miss Sunshine) is a charming but reserved mattress salesman with a crazy family. After selling a bed to a loudmouthed art collector (John Goodman, Confessions of a Shopaholic), he meets the man's outgoing daughter Happy (Zooey Deschanel, The Happening) and the two quickly hit it off. Gigantic follows the pair through the trials and tribulations of weird families, public nudity, and Brian's lifelong dream of adopting a Chinese orphan. If it all sounds stupid that's probably because it is, and I haven't even got to mention the killer hobo played by Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover). This is a film for those who like their movies excessively odd and quirky, but feel free to avoid it if you like meaty and rewarding cinematic experiences.
Cripes, where to start with this one? It's not that Gigantic is a totally awful film, but rather a supremely weird diversion trapped in a claustrophobically ordinary story. The plotline is so loose and uneventful that I'm surprised they managed to write a feature length screenplay around the idea; it's a diabolically unoriginal romance with sprinkles of absurd randomness to liven things up. To make matters worse, the performances lack color, the acting operating at a decidedly so-so standard.
Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel have impressed me in the past, but here their romance is a gormless turd; there is no spark between the pair and their separate performances are tepid at best. Amidst this flavorless love story we also get treated to an equally unappealing slate of supporting efforts. John Goodman is unusually unfunny as Happy's outspoken Dad whilst others such as Jane Alexander are given the same dopey treatment. Debut director Matt Aselton seems under the impression that he has conjured up a roster of intriguing and conflicted personalities but in truth they're a drab and completely uninspired party. I can only assume that Zach Galifianakis's peculiar contribution is meant to flesh out the character of Brian, but when added into this broth it simply jars and further distracts from the lukewarm relationship at hand.
The movie looks cheap and aesthetically ugly, and the cinematography seems to have an unfortunate fascination with the color grey. Maybe given the bizarre nature of the production, a more welcoming color palette might have made things more sufferable, but alas, Aselton seems set on making every possible unconventional choice he can to try and liven up his thoroughly routine central romance. The comedy that Gigantic offers is definitely not for all tastes, it's a film obsessed with odd ramblings and unpremeditated observations, occasionally mustering the energy to tell a limp and lifeless sexually charged gag amongst the unapologetically weird banter. This approach to entertaining the audience didn't wash with me and alongside the failed love story pretty much marks Gigantic out as an ill-fated romantic comedy.
Overall I wasn't impressed with Gigantic; it's a sub-par attempt at indie quirk that is ironically handicapped by its shamelessly ordinary romantic elements. Aselton throws as many weird and unfathomable additives to try and spice things up, but it doesn't work, Gigantic the sort of ill conceived film that I imagine was doomed from the start. The DVD boasts average video and audio whilst the bonus features are sub-standard at best. A few deleted and alternate scenes are the best of what's on offer, the other supposed "special" content being a stills gallery and trailer. If that's not lame I don't know what is.
A weak romance released on a poor disc. As a result it's gigantic in its guiltiness.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Vivendi Visual Entertainment
* 2.35:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 98 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Deleted Scenes
* Alternate Scene
* Image Gallery