Sunday, September 20, 2009


"Gigantic" is uneasy from the start, it being Matt Aselton's first film, but it really falls to pieces in the end. How many tepid, "quirky" romantic comedies are we going to get from the mold-breaking, actually hilarious "Juno"? "Little Miss Sunshine" came first, but Jason Reitman's film was better. Anyways, "Gigantic" is one of these eccentric little films that was spawned from that 2007 film. It stars Paul Dano as Brian Weathersby, a typical girlfriend-less character who is plugged into the position of mattress salesman due to the lack of a realistic idea, who has one big ambition in his life: he is intent on adopting a Chinese baby (a little smear of eccentricity). He's also being repeatedly attacked by a "homeless man" (Zack Galifianakis), something the film doesn't linger on, and doesn't provide an explanation for (thus, confused IMDB users starting threads).

Well, as always, there is a love interest, and that's the overused Zooey Deschanel, who plays Happy. She comes down to the mattress store after her father (John Goodman) decides to buy an expensive Swedish mattress. A relationship begins. The odd thing is, there's no real energy. The same thing can be said for the movie. It feels oddly weary, and, in a way, drug-induced. There are a lot of plot elements that seem to have little or no effect on the film. Such as the random attacking or the studies of rats that Brian's alcoholic friend from college (Brian Avers) conducts (I suppose these exist so that there can be poor similarities drawn between rodent and homo sapian). Not to say the film is all for nothing. I'm not sure the name of the character or the actor, but there's a good performance given by Brian's meditating mattress co-worker. He supplies the only life into the film, delivering offbeat lines with a nice ease. There's not much else here.

Dano is all over the place, and Deschanel is lukewarm playing two notes: quirky girlfriend a la "(500) Days of Summer" and self-effacing girlfriend. Goodman does moderately well in a comic part as one father. The same cannot be said for Ed Asner, as Brian's old, conventional-thinking father, at least as the film fails and caves in at the end (a fellow moviegoer noted his awfulness and I think he wasn't very good either). Mary Page Keller as Happy's estranged mother delivers another standout terrible performance. I dunno. I guess nothing could have really solved Aselton's problems here. Here's a slipshod, fragmented romantic comedy that does not work save for a couple of bits. "Gigantic" (poorly-titled to say the least) is not gigantic in terms of influence on anything. The title describes only the drawbacks in Aselton's poor movie. D+


aspergiansarah said...

Wow. Not your cup of tea, I assume. I tried to watch this movie on the computer, but the sound was off. And yeah, attractive, talented, but typecast Zooey Deschanal played 'quirky girlfriend' in "Yes Man" with Jim Carrey too. The movie was sort of funny, but Zooey was stuck in the free-spirit cliche'. Actually, as a younger person she played a morose, abused teenager incarecerated in a mental hospital in "Manic." Watch it if you want her out of her general role.

aspergiansarah said...

Extra note- as a younger person, I had premature dreams of adopting a homeless Asian baby- don't ask me why- so that aspect is apparently not too quirky to be true. I think that's what made me curious about the film. I guess from your perspective I'm not mssing out much, though?

Nick Duval said...

Wow... that's really strange. Thanks for alerting me to that. You can see why I thought it was too quirky. I have yet to see Zooey Dechanel not in a comedy. I haven't heard of "Manic," but I have heard of "Winter Passing" where she's supposed to be grand as well.