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STOP A COMEDIAN, PLEASE
There are comedians who make some hilarious movies. The problem is that they have a certain shtick that they use … and then use again … and then use again and again and again until they’ve played it out so often that they fade to obscurity.
That or they begin to make movies that folks never pay to see any more (see Eddie Murphy). Face it, when you rely on the same character or style over and over again people will tire of you quickly. Such is the case with Jack Black and especially his new DVD release GULLIVER’S TRAVELS.
Black stars as Gulliver, the head of the mailroom for a magazine. As he introduces the new guy to the job, we get to see him ignored by most of the staff and his longing for the travel editor Darcy (Amanda Peet). By the end of the day this new employee has taken his job and let him know that he’ll always been in the position he’s in because he has no backbone, no ambition to move forward. He also notes the same holds true with his affection for Darcy, a love that will go unrequited because he never makes a move towards her.
This changes when he stops by her office that night intending to let her know how he feels. But he backs down and tells her that he’s actually there to sign up as a writer for her department. She’s glad and gives him an assignment except that he’s never been anywhere and has no idea what to write. A few moments of copy and paste and suddenly he’s got a new job. And a new assignment, heading to the Bermuda Triangle to look into the truth behind it.
With no idea what he’s doing he soon finds himself heading for a swirling mass of water going up rather than down. His boat is swept up and the next thing he knows he’s been washed ashore of an island inhabited by people who stand about 4 inches tall, the Lilliputians. Captured by egomaniacal officer General Edward (Chris O’Dowd) and their army, he’s forced into a life of servitude making friends with another prisoner named Horatio (Jason Segel). Horatio’s crime is falling in love with Princess Mary (Emily Blunt) who is betrothed to General Edward.
A chance rescue of the Princess wins Gulliver freedom and the same for his new friend. He becomes the protector of the country. All the while Edward attempts to knock down this new hero and take back his place atop the crowd. When that fails, he sets out to take over the kingdom or at least assist in it.
Can Gulliver save the day? Can he take on Edward? Will Horatio and Princess Mary finally get together? Will Gulliver ever have the chance to woo Darcy? WHO CARES!
This movie is perhaps one of the worst that I’ve ever seen and that’s saying something. I like almost every movie I watch in one way or another. But this film is terrible from start to finish. And the biggest reason is the center of it all, Jack Black. This is not a portrayal of Gulliver but the same goofy oddball that he’s played in almost every movie he’s made. This character always tries to act cool, to act like he’s in the know and to create words of his own making to display how with it he is. The problem is that while it may have been funny the first time it has now become downright intolerable. Okay we get it Jack, you’re the goofball who pretends to be hip but who isn’t. Ha ha.
The jokes are some of the lamest ever written. That is if they were intended to be jokes. Who knows, there was never one moment that I found myself smiling let alone laughing. The acting is on par with junior high plays…I take that back. That would be an insult to junior high school actors. But perhaps its less their problem seeing as how most of these actors are quite good and thus the fault of the director.
Another thing that insults the audience is the special effects. In a time when we can make spaceships seem real, when we can make hobbits and orcs look like they could actually exists, the special effects displayed here seem lame. One would think they would outshine those seen in the 1960 film THE 3 WORLDS OF GULLIVER but they don’t. I’m not even certain that children would be impressed with these effects.
Black did a great job in KING KONG. I’d love to see him in another movie that pushed him to act rather than skate through a lame film. If he doesn’t his days are numbered. His acting here seems like an appearance on David Letterman. When that happens I change the channel. And as for this film to even pay a $1 rental would be paying too much. I’m wondering if even renting this for free from the library would be worth it. Avoid this at all cost.
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