Review: The Giant Mechanical Man (2012)

Directed by: Lee Kirk
Starring: Jenna Fischer, Chris Messina, Topher Grace

As another semi-effective commentary on our nation’s economic plight and aimless individuals struggling to find a sense of purpose, Lee Kirk’s The Giant Mechanical Man is, at the very most, moderately charming. Centering on Janice (Jenna Fischer) and charismatic street performer Tim (Chris Messina), the film does its best to convey how tough it is to stop running in place by finding a personal support system to help you out of your rut. To its credit, the entire production is generally pretty fun, however it so obviously slips up in certain areas that it becomes hard to recommend.

Now my intentions aren’t to relentlessly bash it, but Kirk is so compelled to drill the same idea into our heads over and over (and over) again that it all comes off as one big insult to our intelligence. I agree, though; a string of bad luck including but not limited to abrupt unemployment is hard to cope with on your own, especially when those closest to you can’t comprehend the severity of your condition. This often applies to a lot of disparate personal issues, and Kirk does a fine enough job in helping his characters and us realize that. Unfortunately, the script as a whole is too thin to compensate for how awfully stereotypical said characters remain and how repetitive and inconsequential the film’s forced to be.

Like I said, it’s charming in that recognizably low-key, overly (sometimes irritatingly) indie sort of way, and all things considered, it has a pretty effective sense of humor. Fischer and Messina exhibit serviceable chemistry as they prove to be each other’s respective, figurative cures, and peculiarly enough, this is as close to a semi-mumblecore Duplass-infused quirkfest you can get; it’s just nowhere near as good as the real deal.


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