My Giant

My Giant directed by Michael Lehmann is yet another depressingly
heart-warming tale from Billy Crystal, who is second in the heart-warming league
only to his friend and co-star in the relentlessly heartwarming Father’s
, Robin Williams. Someone once said that all comedy is cruel, but Billy
Crystal is living proof that this is not true. Or perhaps it was just the funny
kind of comedy that was cruel. Anyway, My Giant is neither cruel nor
funny but the kind of toothless comedy that Hollywood loves, especially when it
is directed at itself. And it is, in a manner of speaking, directed at itself
here. Mr Crystal plays Sammy Kamen, a Hollywood agent with but one client, a
bratty teen star who fires him as the picture is opening. Having overheard on
the set of the movie, which is shooting in Rumania, that the director is looking
for a “big scary guy,” Sammy thinks his ship has come in when he is rescued from
drowning in his car by a seven and a half foot local called Max (Gheorghe

Max, though scary enough in appearance, is naturally a just a big lovable lug
in reality. He quotes Shakespeare, very badly, and asks Sammy to read
Shakespeare sonnets to him at bedtime. “Usually you read bedtime stories
about a giant,” Sammy reflects. “I’m reading them to a giant.” I
get very annoyed when Shakespeare is used like this: to give a cachet of
intellectuality to somebody who obviously doesn’t understand the first thing
about the lines he is mouthing. The acting ability of Mr Muresan, a basketball
player (when he is not injured) for the Washington Wizards, is obviously better
suited to the great gross-out scene where he vomits all over Sammy’s bratty
ex-client in a disgusting torrent.

The lovable giant pines after his sweetheart, Liliana, in
“Galoop”—which turns out to be Gallup, New Mexico—who gave him an
unforgettable kiss when he was thirteen and then emigrated to America. This was
before Max started growing uncontrollably. Sammy sees his chance to persuade an
unpersuasively reluctant Max to star in the movie—so that he can get to
America and find Liliana. Complicating matters is the fact that Liliana, when
found, wants nothing to do with Max. Moreover Sammy is broke, estranged from his
wife (Kathleen Quinlan) and guiltily trying to win the affection of his son,
Nick (Zane Carney). Everything depends on his getting Steven Segal (as himself)
to put Max in his new movie.

The rest you can guess easily enough from the obvious fact that the picture
is meant to give us that old-fashioned sentimental lift. Max is said to be dying
of a heart condition. “I want to do what’s best for my giant,” says a newly-made
decent and conscientious Sammy, and so, as his agent, turns down stardom and a
three picture deal that would have made him rich. Yeah, right. Then he takes Max
home to Rumania and makes him reconcile with his estranged parents (“My mother
had a saying: never go to sleep angry”). And, as if that were not enough
schmaltz for you, there is a final codicil about how he, Sammy, is now “a giant
to my family.” By this point you may be tempted to emulate Max’s one great movie
scene—with which, oddly enough, the film ends, though it cuts away just
before the cascade of vomit descends on the brat. “You’re a genius!” says the
director to Max when he sees this. Billy Crystal, however, is something less
than that.

Discover more from James Bowman

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

Similar Posts