Thursday, December 23, 2010

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS - Cheap Laughs for Black Fans

GULLIVER'S TRAVELS (fantasy comedy)
Cast: Jack Black, Jason Segel, Emily Blunt, Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet, Catherine Tate, James Corden and Olly Alexander
Director: Rob Letterman
Screenplay: Joe Stillman and Nicholas Stroller from the novel by Jonathan Swift
Time: 87 mins
Rating: * * 1/2 (out of 4)

PREAMBLE: Jonathan Swift's 18th Century novel is a satire on the small-mindedness and stupidity of mankind, and the tale of Lilliput, where the little people go to war over which side to crack an egg, pokes fun at mankind killing one another over beliefs.

Of course, you don't expect to find any of these stuff in Rob Letterman's re-imagination of Swift's famous story. And with Jack Black in the title role, it is every silly thing (read: Star Wars, Guitar Hero, Bermuda Triangle references, butt and pee jokes, etc) and the kitchen sink thrown in - all in the name of comedy.

WHAT'S IT ABOUT: Black is Lemuel Gulliver, a mailroom clerk at a newspaper firm who dreams big but never follows through. He has a crush on travel editor Darcy Silverman (Amanda Peet) and in an attempt to impress her, he agrees to do a travel assignment in the Bermuda Triangle.

After a freak storm, he ends up in the land of Lilliput where he becomes a giant hero to its tiny

HITS & MISSES: In a movie where no one in a publishing company takes any notice of a name like Lemuel Gulliver, we should not expect any attempt at being witty, intelligent or original. The opening and intro sequences (to establish the link between Lemuel and Darcy) are rather mundane and as such the landing sequences on Lilliput seem promising. However, we soon find that the scripters do not really know what to do with Gulliver in Lilliput, besides involving him in the war, so they have him playing Cupid to commoner Horatio (Jason Segel, pictured left, with Blunt) and the beautiful Princess (Emily Blunt), and recreating his version of Times Square, Lilliputan style.

The 3-D effects fail to add any extra spark to the film even though the scaling effects are executed well enough. I am no fan of Jack Black low-brow humour but there are some funny moments - as well as those provided by Billy Connolly (as the King of Lilliput) and Segel.

THE LOWDOWN: Cheap laughs for Jack Black fans.


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