Gigantic / Splendeur (Bilingual)
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Mattress salesman Brian Weathersby (Dano) finds his plan to adopt a Chinese baby augmented by the arrival of a young woman, Happy (Deschanel), who comes into his workplaces, falls asleep on one of the beds, and starts to affect his life upon waking up.
Brian Weathersby est un jeune homme ordinaire : célibataire, employé dans un magasin de literie. Enfant né tardivement, Brian ne se sent pas à la hauteur face à ses deux grands frères qui ont brillamment réussi, il n'en demeure pas moins le petit dernier chéri de toute la famille. En réalité, Brian n'aime pas sa vie et passe son temps à poursuivre son rêve d'enfance : adopter un bébé en Chine.
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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.
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.
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.
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.