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Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Retro Review: My Giant (1998)

My Giant
Cast: Billy Crystal, Gheorghe Muresan, Kathleen Quinlan, Joanna Pacula, Dan Castellaneta, Steven Segal, Rider Strong 
Genre: Comedy
U.S Box Office Gross: over $8 million 

Plot: A Hollywood agent stumbles upon Max, a giant living in Romania, and tries to get him into movies

'There Might Be No Giant'

My Giant was Billy Crystal's follow-up to 1997's Fathers' Day co-starring alongside Robin Williams in a comedy remake of the French flick, Les Compares, that was trounced by critics & sunk at the U.S box office, but adored by numerous Robin Williams fans, like me. My Giant is nothing like that movie; in fact, written by Crystal himself, its tone and style is reminiscent of that of his 1995 romantic comedy effort, Forget Paris

I enjoyed City Slickers, Running Scared, Fathers' Day, America's Sweethearts, Throw Momma From The Train and Monster's Inc, whilst When Harry Met Sally was not bad, but everything else coming from Crystal has just been not to my taste. The problem with this lies with the fact that when he is supplemented by other strong, established actors in those films, such as Robin Williams, Danny DeVito, Meg Ryan, Julia Roberts and Robert De Niro in Analyse That, it helps aid the movie and makes it watchable. But with Forget Paris and this effort, My Giant, Crystal has virtually no other established talents to help prop up the movies. With a weak casting and poor, or be it lack of humour, this makes for a calamity of a film. 

A Hollywood agent, Sammy is fired by a teen idol when he lands a role in a major movie. Sammy then turns his attentions to a so-called 7ft tall giant who arrives in America from Romania to find his long-lost love and to turn him into a major star.

Billed as a comedy, it doesn't live up to that at all. I found little in this film that is amusing or hysterical. This is not the laugh-fest one expects; that, and Billy Crystal's style is too laid back for this comedy. It's as if he and this film play it straight with little sprinklings of comedy. His performance is generic and nothing that great to shout about. My Giant could have done with more slapstick and silliness to make it more entertaining to sit through. The performances as a whole are okay, but the film itself is just not good. 

This is another one of those awful comedies that aren't that particularly rousing, funny or amusing at all. Then real-life Romanian NBA basketball player, 7ft 7's Gheorghe Muresan stars opposite Crystal and whilst the film attempts to play off those two, they have absolutely no buddy chemistry. This onscreen pairing was odd and one that was unexpected, but also it is an unexpected turkey of a duo. 

The subplots with Sammy's family issues and Max's pursuit of his childhood sweetheart never truly get off the ground, nor make any resounding impact and the rest of the film feels utterly uninvolving, as much as it tries not to be that way & bland. I was so incredibly bored and the humour was flat. Quality-wise this was flat and quantity-wise, there wasn't enough of it. There was one scene with Muresan throws up on Ryder Strong's character as they shoot a medieval film, which was both gross and a tad amusing. There is also a wrestling scene with Verne Troyer of Austin Powers as one of the wrestling midgets fighting Max. 

And to think this was written by David Seltzer who did the horror flick, The Omen, but then he also did 1988's Punchline with Sally Field and Tom Hanks, Shining Through & Bird On A Wire starring Mel Gibson and Goldie Hawn. & those movies, but for The Omen, weren't all that.

There was a film that came out a year after My Giant, which had a similar premise to this movie, only it was executed with more humour, better writing and better characters and it was funnier as well. That movie was Steve Martin's Bowfinger with Martin starring alongside Eddie Murphy. My Giant is a poor man's Coming To America meets Bowfinger with the fish-out-of-water incredibly tall Romanian guy.

Not even the brief appearance of the pony-tailed B-movie action star, Steven Segal could salvage this bomb. 

Final Verdict:

I like Billy Crystal as a person a good deal, but the quality of his movie work has been very inconsistent and patchy and his humour doesn't always work in every film he is in. With My Giant, this comedy is totally laugh-free and devoid of humour.

Yes Fathers' Day was stupid, silly, farcical - but it made me laugh hard several times and it was fun to watch, but this was the complete opposite of that movie. & the story was just too dull for words. 

My Giant is a humongous '90s comedy dud.  


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