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Movie Review

Larger Than Life

Reviewed by: Larry Massey

Average
Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
12+
Genre:
Comedy
Length:
93 min.
Year of Release:
1996
PG

Starring: Bill Murray and his elephant, VeraM

In this movie, Bill Murray plays the part of a small-time motivational speaker who is full of insecurities and doubts about his real worth. When he finds out that an inheritance from his dad is a full-grown circus-trained elephant—Vera—the action begins. Debts force him to attempt to sell the beast, but the only buyer is on the other side of the United States! Instead of hiring a shipping company to transport 8,000 pound Vera across the U.S., Murray decides to do it himself. During the humorous trip, Murray and Vera develop an affection for one another. Unfortunately, the relationship doesn’t develop that well on screen.

Through many adventures and misadventures, the comedy comes alive. Perhaps the funniest bit in the entire movie is when Murray pulls the wrong lever on a eighteen wheeler (semi truck/trailer) that he is attempting to drive, and the cab swings up and forward! I almost fell out of my chair laughing as he wildly attempted to regain control of the truck.

The most potentially poignant moment of the whole movie is when man and elephant must part. Murrays exclaims, “They told me that elephants never forget, but they didn’t tell me you’ll never forget an elephant.” A little ho-hum, don’t you think?

With several blatant obscenities and profanities, including G__ D___, “Larger Than Life” falls short on the “commendable” scale, especially for Christians. Also, there is a dialogue that dwells on illicit sex. Fortunately, this all takes place in a relatively short time period.

“Larger Than Life” is entertaining… but give me more of Murray’s more brilliant comedies like “What About Bob?” and “Groundhog Day”. I liked those a lot more!

Viewer Comments
This movie left me sad. Not because of the ending, but because of what it could have been. They kept Bill Murray, not the elephant, on a tight leash. I wish they’d had a different director and cut 15 minutes of dead film.
—Michael, age 35
Aside from the 18-wheeler scene, my husband and I were pretty bored with the movie. In light of “Groundhog Day” we expected a lot more from a Murray film. I agree with the person who stated Murray should have been let off the director’s leash.
—M. A. Stolz, age 48
Has anyone out there taken a 9 or 10 year old to this one yet? If so, what did you think of the movie in light of their presence?
—Dale, age 35
I took a 12 year girl and we had some great laughs together. While obviously not stupendous filmaking, it was innocuous enough to be entertaining.
—Lillian c., age 39