Gigantic Matt Aselton

Gigantic Matt Aselton
A 28-year-old, single, dangerously low-affect mattress salesman, Brian (Paul Dano, who also executive produces, so full value for indie cred husbandry), is on the cusp of realizing his life-long dream of adopting a Chinese baby. He and the goofy, rootless Happy (Zooey Deschanel, essaying the wide-eyed stoned/autistic persona from which she may by now be physically and/or legally unable to deviate from) meets cute when she falls asleep on one of Brian's display models and then the next day graciously offers a compensatory shag in the back of her father's BMW station wagon. (He takes her up on this, as one would.) From there, Gigantic, which didn't manage to parlay its TIFF '08 slot into much of a theatrical release, expends most of its energy alternately lurching towards and away from rom-com conventions, as the nascent couple make desultory efforts at penetrating the thickets of each other's eccentricities. Fatally, the two are so lacking in self-knowledge, or are too inarticulate to share it, that we're never able to figure them out, nor made to care if the relationship does or doesn't become unstuck. Amidst the teeming quirk Gigantic lards into the seams where we would ordinarily hope and expect to find actual plot machinations, Brian is, weirdly, bedevilled by occasional random assaults from a mute, homeless hit man (Zach Galifianakis, pre-Hangover). Though his attacker may in fact be imaginary, and thus a manifestation of Brian's poorly illuminated (and, in a guy about to become a dad, not terribly comedic) self-destructive urges, it is a measure of Gigantic's loose grip that we aren't perturbed that this bizarre central ambiguity is never resolved. Similarly, the combination of Brian and Happy's variously non-traditional, dysfunctional families with Brian's incipient single parenthood would seem to tee up some sort of trendily life-affirming lesson regarding blended families and their essential grooviness. But the movie does little with these loopy tribes beyond laying them on the table for our inspection, thus reinforcing the general impression of a rookie writer/director without the discipline or coherence of vision to wrangle his material into anything cogent or engaging. At the end of the day, Happy (along with the rest of the generally winning cast) gets her namesake ending and the audience will experience some slight cockle warming. But few will be sent sprinting for the extras, which is a good thing, as, apart from a couple of deleted scenes that cupboard is pretty much bare. (E1)