Review Date: April 18, 1998
Director: Michael Lehmann
Writer: David Seltzer
Producers: Billy Crystal and Peter Schindler
Billy Crystal as Sammy Kanin
Gheorghe Muresan as Max
Kathleen Quinlan as Serena Kanin
Fast-talking agent from New York (Crystal) gets his life saved by a gigantic man in Romania (Muresan) and decides to bring him back to America for a shot at success in the world of entertainment.
This film is anything but a comedy. Yes, it does have some funny scenes. Yes, it does feature Billy Crystal, the successful host of the Oscars, cracking us up from year to year. But no, unfortunately for all those going into this film expecting a yuck-fest...'tis not to be, my friends. This film is rooted in sentimentality and the manipulation of emotions (in its characters and for the audience). Most of the film involved a sub-plot about the "giant" coming to America to find his long-lost love (nothing funny about that), and the fact that he may have some health problems (nothing funny about that either). As a general film, it does work on some emotional levels, but as a comedy, it is definitely not something you would recommend to your friends for a "good laugh". Muresan is excellent as the puppy-eyed "giant" who doesn't want nor need much out of life. Crystal is generic as usual, and does little to distinguish his character from every other neurotic, wise-cracking Jewish yuppie that he's played over the years (Did I just describe Crystal as a "person" or his "character"? Too close to call. I guess the man's acting abilities don't necessarily stretch from his own persona). Funny at times, overly sentimental at others.
Overall, the movie doesn't deliver many laughs (one unique scene featuring the real Steven Seagal is pretty cool, and pretty big on Seagal's part, as the scene essentially makes fun of him-word on the street is that Seagal originally turned the part down, but after hearing that Van Damme might take it, he curiously reconsidered), has a disappointing ending, and seems to use Muresan's pure innocence and naiveté to garner emotional attachment from the audience (worked a little bit, but after a while....). The good points, well, not too many, but I guess I was never really bored or angry during the entire screening, so that's a plus. A flaccid recommendation indeed.
(c) 2017 Berge Garabedian