Gigantic is a deeply weird movie, but not for the usual reasons. In fact, most of the film is just run-of-the-mill, indie-romantic-comedy quirky. Paul Dano stars as Brian Weathersby, a mumbly New York mattress salesman whose lifelong dream has been to adopt a Chinese baby. It’s all he wants in life.
Until he meets Happy — Zooey Deschanel, typecast as the smart, coy, seductive indie love interest. She pops in to pick up a mattress for her rich, hypochondriac father (John Goodman, in a funny, commanding performance) and quickly complicates Brian’s once rigidly focused life.
What follows is a cute, though sometimes faltering rich-kids courtship film. Brian is intrigued by Happy but committed to his adoption plan. Happy returns Brian’s interest but seems adrift, as she burns through one father-funded career after another.
Meanwhile, Brian seeks advice from his lab-scientist college roommate and goes on a weekend getaway with his wealthy, entrepreneurial brothers and lovable ex-military father (Ed Asner). They all do ’shrooms, wander in the woods and end up at a privately catered, lavish French dinner.
There’s a lot that doesn’t add up here — almost as if this were a film adaption of a book in which richly detailed literary characters and subplots get only vague, puzzling treatment on celluloid.
But I haven’t gotten to the weird part yet.
The really weird part (this would be a spoiler if it appeared to have anything to do with the plot) is the role of bearded comic Zach Galifianakis, who appears periodically throughout the film to beat the living daylights out of Brian.
The first time is on a dock outside the mattress warehouse, where Galifianakis bludgeons Brian with a metal rod. We realize this isn’t their first such encounter, but that’s all the background they give us.
These cameos would be funny (like Pagoda stabbing Gene Hackman with a pocket knife in The Royal Tenenbaums) if they weren’t so brutal. Galifianakis doesn’t play it for laughs here. He’s on a mission to destroy Brian, for one reason or another.
Until he’s not. And then some other stuff happens. And then the movie’s over.
Yeah. Weird. (Rated R)