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Wednesday, Apr 8 2009

I don't remember ever wanting to just haul out and punch a movie before Gigantic. Interrupting every scene with a proud little fart of idiosyncrasy, Matt Aselton's auteur debut provides another limpsy indie comedy for the heap. The screenplay's per-page quota of "unexpected" tweaks leaves little room for much else. There Will Be Blood's overgrown Child of the Corn, Paul Dano, plays Brian: 28, timid, single, a mattress salesman, on the waiting list to adopt a Chinese baby—an apparently unexamined boyhood dream. Feeb Brian meets another homeschool-eccentric rich kid, one "Happy," played by pellucid-eyed hipster desktop-pinup and chanteuse of naptime adult contemporary, Zooey Deschanel. Happy looks good in a shortie kimono and heels, and initiates intimacy with an abrupt "Do you have any interest in having sex with me?" — behavior probably learned from John Goodman's voluminously inappropriate patriarch. Context clues suggest that the viewer is supposed to care if these nutty kids stay together. In my mind's eye's re-edit, the movie ends with a circa-1973 Joe Don Baker unexpectedly rolling into town and stomping the entire dramatis personae into jelly, but in actual fact, it wraps up with some blog rock and the "Hey, maybe there's no such thing as 'normal,' and we're all just screwed up and searching, y'know?"revelation.

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Nick Pinkerton


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