Gigantic

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The ViewAuckland Review

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Review byMatthew Turner17/06/2009

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 98 mins

Likeable indie romance, thanks to strong performances and some nice ideas, though it's often a little too quirky for its own good and is almost derailed by a spectacularly misguided subplot.

What's it all about?
Co-written and directed by Matt Aselton, Gigantic stars Paul Dano as 28-year-old mattress salesman Brian Weathersby, whose life's ambition is to adopt a Chinese baby. That is until he meets Harriet 'Happy' Lolly (Zooey Deschanel) when she turns up at his store and falls asleep on one of his beds; the pair quickly strike up a friendship and begin to fall in love.

As the relationship develops, Brian bonds with Happy's eccentric father Al (John Goodman), but she seems less than keen to meet his parents (Ed Asner and Jane Alexander) and reacts badly when he confesses his adoption plans. Meanwhile, in an entirely unrelated subplot, Brian has to deal with a homeless man (Zach Galifianakis) who seems to be trying to kill him.

The Good
Some genius at The AV Club recently coined the phrase Manic Pixie Dream Girl (or MPDG) to describe the kind of kooky, adorable female characters that seem to only exist in these kinds of movies (see also Garden State, etc.) and who would, more to the point, be deeply irritating in real life. Deschanel is exactly that, but she's so damned adorable that she makes it work; she's also well suited to Dano, with whom she has good chemistry.

There's also terrific support from Goodman, whose every appearance is a delight, and from Asner, who almost steals the film as Brian's magic mushroom-popping father. In addition, the script is peppered with good dialogue, but there's also an underlying sadness to the film that casts all the quirkiness in a slightly different light.

The Bad
However, the film is almost completely derailed by the psychotic homeless man sub-plot. Is he, in fact, a Homeless Man Of The Mind? Aselton prefers to leave that question unanswered, but, regardless of the intention, the subplot doesn't work because it's so completely divorced from the rest of the film.

Worth seeing?
If you can handle the quirkiness, Gigantic is a likeable, low-key indie romance with strong performances from Dano and Deschanel.

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Content updated: 27/05/2019 08:34

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