Tuesday 11 September 2018

Movie Review: Gigantic (2008)

An independent romantic comedy, Gigantic is subdued to the point of disappearing within itself.

Brian (Paul Dano) is a quiet mattress salesperson, and in his personal life waiting for approval to adopt a baby from China. After selling an expensive mattress to loudmouth businessman Al (John Goodman), Brian meets Al's daughter Harriett (Zooey Deschanel), who goes by the nickname Happy.

They start a relationship, but while he is quick to fall in love, she is unsure what she wants in life, leading to conflict. His parents (Jane Alexander and Edward Asner) try to be supportive. Meanwhile, a homeless man (Zach Galifianakis) regularly stalks and attacks Brian for no reason.

An independent production directed and co-written by Matt Aselton, Gigantic has the singular objective to portray a timid romance between a quirky couple. From the awkward pauses to the just-slightly-off dialogue and halting interactions, everything Brian and Happy do fits into the category of a nerdy, unsure and definitely-not-hip couple.

And that's about it. The 98 minutes contain precious little of note, Aselton padding the movie with multiple episodes featuring a rampaging homeless man who must signify something important in Brian's psyche. The few moments of good humour (usually courtesy of John Goodman) are more than counterbalanced by some out-of-place vulgarity (also usually courtesy of Goodman).

As for Brian and Happy, they go through the standard rom-com ups and downs, the adopt-a-Chinese-baby side quest rarely anything more than a slightly puzzling distraction. And the romance unfolds at an attitude mellow enough to easily induce a long sleep on one of Brian's mattresses (which many characters go ahead and do anyway).

Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel are the perfect representatives for the we-are-so-not cool-that-we-are-cool set and take the material as far as it goes, which it turns out is not very far. But they will travel the short distance, you know, hesitantly.

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