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Gigantic

2008

3.2 out of 5 stars (38) IMDb 6.1/10

Gigantic

Starring:
Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel
Runtime:
1 hour, 38 minutes

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By Joshua Miller VINE VOICE on August 16, 2009
Format: DVD
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...
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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I purchased this years ago with no prior knowledge of it; just bought it on a whim. It turned out to be a good movie. In fact, it's one of the few DVD's I have actually held onto after all these years. It was different and I like that which is out of the norm.
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Format: DVD
"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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Format: Amazon Video
I'm a big fan of Dano and Deschanel, but this is one of the most thoroughly disturbing films I have ever seen. The shallow self-indulgent hipster/yuppie mentality; rendered all the more vivid by the callousness in which a homeless bully (who may or may not actually exist) is murdered, and the lead character's selfish and vapid desire to adopt a child of a particular ethnicity; makes this art-film too tragically oblivious for it's own good. Sophomoric dialogue and undeveloped characters round out this film's parade of faults. Did the writers, producers, and actors know how this would look to anyone outside their actor-millionaire, art-school bubble? Methinks this is somewhat the point: Gigantic attempts to get away with artsy, surrealist self-analysis without any meaningful awareness of the particular social and psychological issues it claims to be addressing. Painfully conceived efforts to make the film self-aware, in fact do the opposite.
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