Dozily, dozily

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Filmreviews -

AT VAR­I­OUS points in this fan­tas­ti­cally point­less and dizzy­ingly pompous quirky com­edy, a bearded fig­ure (played by Zach Galifianakis from The Hang­over) makes un­ex­plained at­tempts to shoot, beat or stab the ap­par­ently nar­colep­tic pro­tag­o­nist. I know how he feels. Af­ter only a few min­utes of Gi­gan­tic, I felt an al­most over­pow­er­ing urge to beat the film to death with the bluntest, most un­hy­gienic ob­ject within reach.

This is not to sug­gest that Gi­gan­tic is badly made. Matt Asel­ton, a com­mer­cials di­rec­tor, has put to­gether some im­pres­sive dis­ci­plined shots that nod to­wards work by such mid-cen­tury eggheads as An­to­nioni and Go­dard. If you want static takes of men talk­ing in sparsely fur­nished rooms, then look no fur­ther.

Sadly, the sheaf of non­se­quiturs that passes for a script of­fers the ac­tors lit­tle ma­te­rial with which to il­lu­mi­nate the dead­ened spa­ces.

This is the sort of screen­play that ap­pears proud of its re­sis­tance to easy sum­mary, but we’ll give it a go. Paul Dano plays an em­ployee at a bed shop whose daily labours bring him in touch with a strange young woman (in­die high-priest­ess Zooey Deschanel) and her ag­gres­sive, ec­cen­tric fa­ther (in­die god­fa­ther John Good­man).

When not fall­ing in love with the for­mer, Dano vis­its his fa­ther (Ed As­ner) in the coun­try to hunt game and cook up magic mush­rooms. There’s also that re­cur­ring busi­ness with the bloke out of The Hang­over and a sub­plot in which Dano tries to adopt a Chi­nese baby.

Ev­ery­body in the fine cast demon­strates why he or she is worth hir­ing, de­spite be­ing asked to de­liver di­a­logue at the pace of a Gregorian chant. But the film’s wil­ful odd­ness never gels into any­thing you might be tempted to care about. Un­like, say, a David Lynch or Wes An­der­son film, Gi­gan­tic doesn’t ap­pear to be con­ceal­ing any great, de­li­cious se­crets. It’s just a hol­low shell of un­in­ter­est­ing dis­trac­tions.

The film does re­ceive an ex­tra star for in­clud­ing the mighty I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight by Richard and Linda Thomp­son. Un­for­tu­nately, it loses two more for mak­ing me feel slightly nau­seous when­ever I hear the song again.

Forty winks: Zooey Deschanel in Gi­gan­tic

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