My Giant (1998) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

My Giant is an occasionally amusing but mostly dull comedy starring Billy Crystal as a low-level Hollywood agent and former NBA player Gheorghe Muresan. The odd premise is carried out without much flair and a muted color palette that drains the movie of energy and comedic spirit. However, the occasional quip by the star and a few nicely placed jabs at the industry are so funny that you’d wish the whole film was either smarter or harder edged.

Sammy (Crystal) is an agent to one successful client; a teenage screen-idol, who promptly fires him when he lands the starring role in a big-budget production. This act of betrayal enrages Sam to the point of driving his car off the road and landing in a creek. He’s pulled from the wreckage by the massive Max (Gheorghe Muresan). It’s at this point the film starts to resemble a fairy tale, specifically Jack and the Beanstalk. There is a cute scene at the Giant’s dinner table that scores chuckles from the sheer size difference of its lead performers. Muresan mutters some Shakespeare and Crystal realizes that he can land this guy in a high-profile villain role in the same film his last client fired him from. So now, Sam must try to convince Max to go along with the plan, but Max will only adhere to Sammy’s scheme if he helps find Lillian (Joanna Pacula), a girl Max loved as a child.

The story moves the action to Las Vegas where Max is set to star as the nemesis in the latest Steven Seagal action flick. Seagal plays himself in an extended cameo that pokes fun at his over-domineering behavior. Then the fun quickly drains from the concept as the giant becomes aware of a sickness that could end his life prematurely. It’s an overly morbid plot point that turns this benign family film into a confused project that thinks it’s being sentimental, but is actually just downbeat and certainly not funny. The misguided screenplay has Crystal serving up his ex-wife to Muresan as a ruse in a scene that is just plain creepy.

Director: Michael Lehmann
Stars: Billy Crystal, Gheorghe Muresan, Kathleen Quinlan

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