Gigantic
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 16, 2009
Gigantic is another independent romantic-comedy starring Zooey Deschanel. Like other films of this sort that she's starred in, it's not your typical, everything-turns-out-fine, big box-office take romantic-comedy. Instead, it's a subtle, quirky film with whimsical characters that is hardly the first of it's kind, but is still a unique little movie.

Paul Dano (also the executive producer) is a mopey, 28-year-old mattress salesmen named Brian who's in the process of adopting a Chinese baby. One day, Al Lolly (John Goodman), a successful, loud-mouthed man with back problems comes in and buys a mattress. His daughter Happy (Deschanel) comes in to take care of the financial aspects and ends up falling asleep on one of the bed's.

Ed Asner co-stars as Brian's elderly father, while Zach Galifianakis (a recent scene-stealer in The Hangover) plays a mysterious, mute homeless man.

What is instantly striking is the unique characters and the subtle things that make them unique. One character introduces himself with "'sup dude? Not much," everytime he enters a room. There's the bizarre, mute homeless man of course. And how many beautiful, eccentric girls randomly fall asleep in a mattress warehouse? So, yes the character's are unique...But they don't come off as being written in such a way. My impression of the character's was not one of a writer saying "look at my unique characters!" They seem normal, real, just not without their eccentricities.

The acting really brings that quality out. Dano has played every sort of character and his quiet, disconnected Brian is another winning performance. Goodman has played a loud-mouthed, sympathetic character before and few actors are better at it. Finally, although not expanding her acting range much, Deschanel is a charmer...She once again plays a character that's reserved and complicated, but you can see how someone could instantly fall for her.

Gigantic did not blow me away, but it's got many admirable qualities. I enjoyed it's subtle, deadpan humor. It doesn't seem to reach for laughs, but will graciously accept them if the timing is right. Co-writer/director Matt Aselton marks his directorial debut here and he doesn't seem to have totally hit his creative stride yet. There are scenes in Gigantic that feel out-of-place, like Aselton didn't focus on a completely linear story arc. Also, I'm not sure about the necessity of the Galifianakis character.

Gigantic is an ironic title for a film of this scope. It's a simple film about complicated people that simplifies their "gigantic" complications in their otherwise typical, fruitless lives. It's low-key and light-on-it's-feet and although I enjoyed it, I couldn't help but think that it had more potential than it fulfilled. It's not perfect, but a strong debut by a filmmaker who could make something very special in the future.

GRADE: B-
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
What a great little film. An irrational "love" story filled with the single most dysfunctional group of dorks I have ever enjoyed watching. Two obscure performances from Ed Asner and the mute Zach Galifianakis underscore the boldest roles for Zooey and Paul Dano I have seen outside of their mainstream stuff.

It is difficult to explain as I found it hard to classify this a comedy, but the laugh out loud moments of excellent writing were numerous and placed just right. The story follows two young lovers as they traverse their "jobs", un-describable families, and each of their respective dysfunctions. Along the way we are subjected to Galifianakis' homeless stalker, Ed Asner's bizarre dad insight, and a Japanese spa scene that if described, would not allow this review to get posted (do not remember seeing anything like that on film before).

The filming is unique, the 5.1 is decent and picture quality is good. The special features are sparse but contain one of the most relevant deleted/alternate scenes I have watched in some time. Had they edited that 30 second clip into the film (the alternate scene clip), it would have changed the entire premise. The stills gallery is forgettable and a trailer is included. Would have preferred to see more about the brains behind this and maybe a featurette, but the film is an interesting piece on its own. It says R for language, sexual content and violence, but nudity should be in there also for the Zooey/pool scene, albeit from a distance.
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
"Gigantic" offers a mix of experiences. From the opening credit where the title is in a small font, one knows that this is a film that throws curve balls. One never quite knows what to expect. Paul Dano who was so good in "Little Miss Sunshine" and "There Will Be Blood" also produced. He turns in a subtle performance as Brian Weathersby who sells mattresses and works to secure his life-long dream of becoming an adoptive parent to a Chinese child. A complication arises as he meets Harriet "Happy" Lolly played by Zooey Deschanel. Shopping for a mattress, she falls asleep on the bed. From there a friendship and unusual romance develops. Ed Asner has a nice cameo as Brian's father. Jane Alexander turns in an excellent cameo performance as Brian's mother. John Goodman is blustery and eccentric as Harriet's father. The performances are all first rate. Enjoy!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2010
This film is really a battle of the bizarre fathers: between John Goodman who prefers being chauffeured lying down in the back of a hearse and Ed Asner, a goofily semi-demented back to nature grandfather who has his grown multi-lingual sons over for a hallucinogenic tea party. Goodman and Asner alone are worth the price of the DVD.

The main character played by Paul Dano is a kind of urban, mattress-selling "Lars" of Lars and the Real Girl; you're not sure how much of his reality is real or why, but everyone else seems to take his off axis mental status in stride. Paul plays Brian, a sweet, shy guy who, unaccountably, stays that way after meeting Zoe Deschanel. Zoe, I think, just plays Zoe; quirky, beautiful, messed up by an obliviously cruel mother, and indulged by her hyperrich hypereccentric father (Goodman); she lives in an ADD world where she is unable to keep a job or a boyfriend. She's charming, believably vulnerable and heartfelt.

The movie has an odd and disturbing (well, everything is relative) subplot involving an individual who may be violently stalking Brian, and there is also Brian's apparently lifelong intent (obsession?) to adopt a Chinese baby girl. Zoe may or may not be pregnant by the end of the film, which just ends and drops you on the floor abruptly, as if the filmmaker decided that if attention deficit disorder is good enough for his characters, it's good enough for the film.

So, bottom line, if you like quirky movies, and really good, really eccentric acting, add this to your collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2012
Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel, Zach Galifinakis, John Goodman, Ed Asner - all great actors who elevate this mediocre script, but there's only so far they can take it.
It's an interesting, quirky premise: Paul Dano is a mattress salesman in his late 20's with a long-standing desire to adopt a Chinese baby. Then he meets a girl (Deschanel), and his plan is thrown into question. There's also a strange subplot in which Dano is repeatedly attacked by a mysterious assailant.
Unfortunately, none of the important questions are ever satisfactorily answered, nor are the characters developed much. Why does he want to adopt - not just a baby, but specifically a Chinese baby? (He just always has, since he was a kid.) What's the deal with Deschanel's hot/cold response? (Her mother abandoned the family, so she's incapable of forming any lasting relationships.) And who's this weirdo would-be assassin? (Not sure about this one, but it seems like writer/director Matt Aselton is trying to make this character represent a denied or unconscious part of Dano's psyche who, unless Dano confronts and defeats him, will ruin his chances to achieve anything and everything he wants.) Why is everyone except Dano, including his own family, so rich? (Dano's NYC apartment, however, is suspiciously spacious for a guy who sells mattresses out of a warehouse.) And how is it that all the wealthy characters have amusingly oddball jobs? (Dano's brothers are a doctor who's afraid of physical contact and a lifelong bachelor who buys and sells oil tankers. Deschanel's sister hosts shopping network promos.) And the parents - who knows where their money came from? But they certainly have a lot of it.
Apparently, Dano and Aselton went to college together, which goes a ways toward explaining how this movie got made. Somehow, Aselton was also able to get a decent budget and a great cast. It's too bad that the script was not significantly revised before production. This film has a lot of potential, of which it repeatedly falls short.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon July 22, 2011
Any movie that stars both Paul Dano and Zooey Deschanel is bound to contain the word "quirky" in most of its reviews, and "Gigantic" soars so far off the Quirk Meter that it makes "Little Miss Sunshine" look like "The Hurt Locker." The story, about a mattress salesman (Dano) who falls in love with the eccentric daughter (Deschanel) of a tyrannical, blowhard tycoon (John Goodman) contains half a dozen subplots, none of which is believable in the slightest. Nevertheless, the ensemble cast (which includes Edward Asner and Jane Alexander) could not be more ingratiating, and largely because of them "Gigantic" flows along entertainingly despite the general weirdness. However, one subplot almost causes the film to go off the rails altogether: the subplot in which a homeless man (Zach Galifinakis, just before "The Hangover" made him a star) repeatedly and violently attacks Dano's character for no discernible reason. This subplot is a total bummer, particularly in its resolution, and flouts believability all too brazenly. It hurts the film, but fortunately doesn't succeed in killing it. For most of its running time, "Gigantic" is a pleasingly strange movie.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I love little quirky films and Zooey Deschanel has become one of my favorite actresses in these off beat romance movies. While I enjoyed 'Gigantic it loses sight of itself in the third act. The performances are very good especially by Goodman and Asner and there is a lot to like about this story, I just didn't think it stood up to other small films of this nature like '500 Days Of Summer'. If your into these types of films it is certainly worth seeing, but don't expect it to be on par with some of the best films of this kind.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
I did enjoy it. I watched it on one of those early mornings when you have time to stay in bed.

I do not agree about the homeless being all in his imagination.

Maybe I am naive or nt know enough about movies, but I think it's real.

A demon in his head? Sure, it could be. But I think not

Cheers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 31, 2010
This movie is a winner in the catagory: Leaves you with a Good Feeling.

Although not in the same class as Lost in Translation and Four Friends, these three movies got the same Good Feeling in common.

Dont expect to find a message, dont look for a statement, just enjoy this love story.
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on February 13, 2015
There is a common joke about romantic comedies rewarding the kind of behavior that would get people arrested in the real world. The conflated time lines, "falling in love" montages, the grand romantic gesture as well as the quick breakup-reunion are all cliches of the romantic comedy that never sets out to be terribly realistic in the first place. The problem comes when you try to make a low key romance movie and the characters are no more realistic than the characters in a standard rom-com.

Most of the acting in this movie is going to be described as understated and low key - mostly because the acting in this movie seems to be purposefully meant to convey an utterly sleepy cast. The two exceptions are John Goodman and Ed Asner who seem to have wandered in from much better and more entertaining movies. Everyone else is just going through the motions.

Rather than making the characters realistic, these choices only serve to underscore just how unrealistic everything is. Zoey Deschanel might as well be called Manic Pixie Dream Girl in the credits - until about halfway through the movie when she starts showing some angst at the prospect of responsibility. Paul Dano is a 20-something weirdo who wants to adopt a Chinese baby (and for some reason is taken seriously in his endeavors).

The movie is not without charm, but ultimately it adds up to a bunch of awkward people being awkward for no real reason beyond the rules of the quirky movie.
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