Combustible Celluloid
 
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With: Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel, Edward Asner, Jane Alexander, John Goodman, Sean Dugan, Brian Avers, Louis Ozawa Changchien, Zach Galifianakis, Frank Harts, Tatsuo Ichikawa, Ilana Levine, Susan Misner, Kenji Nakano, Clarke Peters
Written by: Matt Aselton, Adam Nagata
Directed by: Matt Aselton
MPAA Rating: R for language, some sexual content and violence
Running Time: 98
Date: 09/08/2008
IMDB

Gigantic (2009)

2 Stars (out of 4)

Quirkyverse

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Gigantic is one of those movies that checks off a list of quirky things. The hero works in a warehouse selling expensive beds. He wants to adopt a Chinese baby and has dreamed of doing so since he was a kid. His father is 80 years old. He meets a girl called "Happy," who says and does weird, spontaneous things. Happy's father has back trouble and must ride in cars lying horizontally. A random homeless man continually tries to beat up or shoot the hero. As always in movies like this the hero, Brian Weathersby (Paul Dano), is quiet and sullen and sort of depressed. He has at least one friend with quirky advice. The director photographs things in half-darkness, in widescreen, with little movement and lots of pauses for the quirky dialogue. Everything works out in a happy, quirky kind of way. It reminded me of Thumbsucker and lots of other movies just like it (most of them developed and/or shown at Sundance). Fortunately, co-writer and director Matt Aselton has cast some good actors that can fill in the blanks. John Goodman, as Happy's father, has played in many films for the Coen brothers and has a gift for gruffness, which works counter to the quirkiness. Ed Asner really savors his dialogue, taking charge of every scene he's in. And, of course, Zooey Deschanel always seems to occupy her own weird, wonderful universe; she never appears to be acting. Dano, however, gets the short end of the stick and plays Brian literally; it's a bit of a lifeless shuffle. There's nothing inside, nothing to connect the film with the emotions of living people. The list of quirky things shows some kind of imagination, I guess, but it's nothing more than a list.

DVD Details: The 2009 DVD release from Vivendi Entertainment comes with two short deleted scenes, both with the same "quirky" tone, and an "alternate" scene. There's a stills gallery that plays automatically (you can't skim through it). We also get a trailer for this and other DVD releases, including a new Mariah Carey film called Tennessee that has to be seen to be believed.

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