The Giant Mechanical Man

Directed by Lee Kirk

> > Nov 05 2012

The Giant Mechanical Man - Directed by Lee Kirk
By Kevin ScottIf making any sort of meaningful connection with another human being can be nearly impossible, capturing that ephemeral feeling on film can prove even more elusive. While The Giant Mechanical Man wears its heart on its sleeve and stands out in its lack of cynicism, it treads familiar territory and devotes a great deal of screen time to keeping its two romantic leads apart with only the smallest of obstacles. Tim (Chris Messina) is an aimless artist working the city's streets as his titular creation. This involves painting his face silver, dressing in a matching suit and performing rigid movements while on stilts as some sort of commentary on society. One day, while in character, he has an encounter with Janice (Jenna Fischer), a similarly floundering woman about to be fired from her already impermanent job as a temp. We know that they are meant to be with each other, but it must be at least a little bit harder than that. He has a girlfriend (Lucy Punch), though she's leaving him because she doesn't believe in his art. And Janice has an overbearing younger sister (Malin Akerman) and brother-in-law (Mad Men's Rich Sommer) insistent on setting her up with a boorish author, Doug (Topher Grace), who amusingly lectures on the art of conversation and yet is absolutely terrible at it. Everything falls into place for the fated pair when they both get jobs at the zoo and begin to oh-so-slowly discover in each other what we've already figured out. Fischer is especially sweet in another wallflower role (she also produced and director Kirk is her real-life husband), and she and Messina establish a nice chemistry. Unfortunately, this isn't enough to distract from the lack of any genuine conflict, aside from ones that feel manufactured and purely superficial. Grace provides some comic relief with his pretentious behaviour, even if it does undermine the attempt at having him serve as a potential romantic hurdle. This is endemic of a world painted in broad strokes of black and white, as if taking the audience by the hand and advising on whom we are supposed to like and not like as things progress. It makes for an experience that may feel warm and cozy at the end, but only because we've been there before and we've been prepared for our arrival. Disappointingly, there are no extras at all on the disc.
(Mongrel Media)
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