Wednesday, November 11, 2009

GIGANTIC (2008) Rated: R ( Now playing at home where you don't have to sneak your homemade popcorn into the theater)

We need more women who say, (in the middle of an ordinary conversation) "Do you have any interest in having sex with me?" Maybe that's why I like Zooey Deschanel's character in Gigantic. Deschanel is making a career of playing fascinatingly spooky chicks, (Yes Man, 500 Days of Summer) and maybe that's the seed of my fascination with the actress herself. These lasses seem to have a tenuous hold on reality--and if you get involved with them, they'll keep you guessing all the way because, honestly, THEY can't anticipate what they'll do how can you?

I have known this kind of chick. I have been screwed-over by this kind of chick. But if they've got the doe eyes of a Zooey Deschanel, you'll throw caution and good judgement to the wind. That's what Brian Weathersby, (Paul Dano) 28 year old Manhattan mattress salesman does when Harriet "Happy" Lolly (Deschanel) shows up at his mattress showroom and plops down on the fourteen thousand dollar bed her well-heeled father has just purchased, and zonks out for a couple of hours.

Brian's life-long dream has been to adopt a baby from China. He's working on it. But you won't get any insight into what motivates a single guy with a modest income to be thus oriented until near the end of the movie. Brian's involvement with the aimless Happy deepens. They think they feel something for each other. But when Brian finally gets word about his little bundle of joy, Happy balks and decides on a whim to go to cooking school in France.

Along the way, Brian consults with his friend who works in a rat lab for relationship advice; ingests magic mushrooms with his dad (Ed Asner) and goes tripping into the woods; and gets stalked and repeatedly attacked by this crazy homeless dude, in a subplot that had me wondering if the stalker was real or just an imaginary metaphor for the curve balls life throws to try to derail us from our mission. All of which may make you scratch your head and wonder how these things fit into the main plot. The only explanation is that plot-driven stories usually make some kind of logical sense, but Gigantic is all about the characters. Speaking of which, John Goodman is funny as hell as Happy's eccentric, overbearing dad. And just like its characters, Gigantic is unpredictable right up to the end (which is magical!)

First time writer-director Matt Aselton has given us a small indie gem in the vast sea of movie mediocrity--exactly the kind of thing I love discovering. Telling you about it is equally as satisfying. Enjoy.