Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Big

When 12-year old Josh Baskin is denied a ride on a roller coaster for being too short, and is therefore embarrassed in front of his dream girl, he wishes himself big at a fairground fortune booth. The next morning he awakes as a 30-year old Tom Hanks, complete with chest hair, deeper voice and a ripped pair of space pyjamas. So ensues a fish-out-of-water comedy, as Josh, having been chased from his house by his understandably terrified mother, must fend for himself in the big wide world.
Hanks is incredible as man-child Josh, in his first truly memorable role, utterly convincing in an underappreciated performance, arguably Hanks’ best, be it kneeling on a chair, eating Oreos or simply swinging his bag as he walks, every touch adds to the sense that this really is a 12-year old boy in a man’s body.
If there are any faults, they lie in the third act, when the clich├ęs drop thick and fast into this previously original movie. Josh begins to realise his responsibilities and grows up, ditching his best friend for a girl and eventually, if a little suddenly, realising that he just wants to be a kid again. There is also one of the most uncomfortably wrong relationships ever seen in film between Josh and corporate climber Susan (Elizabeth Perkins), so squirm-inducing it probably would have been omitted today (that said, it’s just as bad as the centuries-old vampire/teenage girl romance from Twilight... not that I know anything about those films). But regardless of however many faults the film may have, one scene, featuring Hanks, his new boss (Robert Loggia) and a giant floor keyboard in a toy store, makes any film worth watching. This is the kind of scene that never fails to cheer me up.
Choose film 8/10

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