Big Love

GiganticRunning time 98 minutesWritten by Matt Aselton and Adam NagataDirected by Matt AseltonStarring Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel Matt Aselton’s Gigantic,

Running time 98 minutes
Written by Matt Aselton and Adam Nagata
Directed by Matt Aselton
Starring Paul Dano, Zooey Deschanel

Matt Aselton’s Gigantic, from a screenplay by Mr. Aselton and Adam Nagata, is burdened with a fanciful narrative that ranges from the ridiculous to the surreal. For starters, I have no idea what the title means. Paul Dano, so memorable in There Will Be Blood, heads an ultra-competent cast as 26-year-old Brian Weathersby, still trying to find his way in the world as a salesman for a Swedish mattress company. His prime concern at the moment is adopting a Chinese child.

One day, Harriet Lolly (Zooey Deschanel) walks into the mattress shop and promptly falls asleep on one of the couches, which leads to a sale for Brian and a lingering romance under the watchful eyes of their parents: the eccentric Al Lolly (John Goodman) on Harriet’s side, and Mr. and Mrs. Weathersby (Ed Asner and Jane Alexander) on Brian’s. These are all names to conjure within any actors’ Hall of Fame, and they go through their absurdist paces with considerable zeal and panache.

To jolly things along, Brian is stalked by a nameless homeless could-be assassin (Zach Galifianakis), who seems to pop up everywhere unannounced, even in the deepest woods, with the achieved intention of beating Brian to within an inch of his life. Brian never mentions these attacks, attributing his bruises and scars to sports accidents.

Brian and Harriet are eventually conjoined, but with a puzzling reluctance on both sides that only adds to the ennui of the proceedings. Still, the various twilight performances of the veteran players deserve a look, as do the always interesting appearances of Mr. Dano and Ms. Deschanel. Only the sparks are missing this time. Big Love