Reviewed by: Mark Gilman
Starring: Billy Crystal, Kathleen Quinlan, Gheorghe Muresan, Joanna Pacula | Director: Michael Lehmann | Released by: Columbia Pictures
An out-of-luck agent loses the woman he loves and eventually every hot client he represents. Left with just one “property” to represent, the agent finds the meaning of life is not about status and money, but about love and compassion for your fellow man. I know what you’re thinking—“yeah I liked “Jerry Maguire” too!” So why remake it right on its heals? “My Giant” replaces Jerry Maguire with Billy Crystal (“Father’s Day”, “When Harry Met Sally”), then switches Cuba Gooding Jr.’s character with a 7 foot 5 inch Romanian basketball player. Unfortunately, “My Giant” pales in comparison.
I couldn’t help but think while viewing this film that I’ve seen this plot somewhere before. I was snapped back into reality, however, by some horrendous acting and a plot that couldn’t seem to figure out if it wanted to make us laugh, cry or groan. Billy Crystal was himself victimized by bad representation, looking at the choice of films he has chosen to associate himself with in recent years. This film is one he claims he has “always wanted to make.” Apparently during the making of “Princess Bride”, Crystal became entranced by 7’6” professional wrestler and sometime-actor, the late Andre “The Giant” and wanted to pilot a project which would feature a small guy and a really huge guy and turn this sight gag into a full length feature—set in Romania! Choosing Gheorghe Muresan as his giant foil turned out to be a disaster.
Not only is the Washington Wizards' center and true Romanian almost unintelligible during the movie (making the late Andre in hindsight sound like Richard Burton) but Crystal manages to bite, chew, swallow and digest the scenery in an effort to make us feel sorry for the fact he has not only (temporarily) lost his wife (Kathleen Quinlan) and career, but make us believe in acting measured by decibel that he’s regained his principles as well. It’s “Mr. Saturday Night” meets Robin Williams. And how has he done this? Of course, by lying! As a matter of fact, every “My Giant” scene of virtue and forced sincerity is buffered by bold-face lies that again send the message that the outcome is what’s important, not the principled dedication to getting there. I’ll spare you the details only because I hope you’ll find better ways to spend an evening. Actually the big losers in this venture were the Wizards who have been without Muresan for most of the season because the boots he was forced to wear during the making of the movie caused a severe injury to his Achilles tendon.
The big problem with the movie “My Giant” is in its classification—is it a drama, comedy, an overbearing and pathetic sight gag? Perhaps the end of Crystal’s movie career? (There’s always those Academy Award shows).
In a market screaming for family movies, this PG fare entertains us with blasphemous utterances against God, Orthodox Monks and morality. Some viewers believe redemption comes at the tale end of this pack of lies and foul language, but I am not among them. Skip this one. And if you’re a Billy Crystal fan (as I am, this review not withstanding) pray he makes quality decisions in his future movie projects… a project like, maybe “Harry Really Misses Sally”.