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My Giant

movie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: My Giant

Starring: Billy Crystal, Gheorge Muresan
Director: Michael Lehmann
Rated: PG
RunTime: 105 Minutes
Release Date: April 1998
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Kathleen Quinlan, Joanna Pacula, Zane Carney, Rider Strong, Steven Seagal, Harold Gould, Doris Roberts, Philip Sterling, Heather Thomas

Review by Walter Frith
2½ stars out of 4

Billy Crystal's films are innocuous. They don't say a lot but they they do manage to entertain with language kept tasteful and in a mixture of immature and downright stupid comedies, Crystal finds the wit and charming self-consciousness that appeals to all age groups. His best film, 'City Slickers', spawned a sequel that was more contrived and less ambitious and his most talked about film is probably 1989's 'When Harry Met Sally' in which Crystal and the extremely likable Meg Ryan starred as a pair of on again off again relationship seekers who find each other's true nature after many years.

'My Giant' has two things going for it. An original story and the unusual presence of a nearly 8 foot tall actor named Gheorge Muresan who is extremely likable and remarkably, holds his own with Crystal in his film debut.

Crystal plays Sam, an agent travelling through Romania and a client whom he represents is the star of a 'Braveheart' kind of film, full of men in armour, wielding large swords, riding swiftly on horses and Crystal is fired by his client and in the frustration and shame of being fired, crashes his car into a ditch attached to a river and is saved by Max (Muresan) who works at a monastery helping with the daily chores who longs to be reunited with a teenage sweetheart who moved to America years before. Sam tells Max he can put him in the movies and after a hard sell job of convincing Max that he can be a movie star, Max agrees and the two of them are in tow.

Watching Muresan walk down the streets of New York City is funny with everyone looking up and a scene where Muresan gobbles up twenty hot dogs in a couple of minutes and runs up a vendor's bill of over 50 dollars is what audiences probably remember most from the ads promoting the film. Crystal also takes his new client home to meet his family and there are some funny scenes at the dinner table that contain some genuine belly laughs.

The film fails to expand on some characters that have potential such as the boy who plays Cystal's isolated son and even Crystal's wife in the film (Kathleen Quinlan) has a role that is key in the film's final minutes but her talents are far above that of only one key scene.

Crystal always looks to be playing himself in his films as his personalities are always the same but Crystal gets away with it constantly surrounding himself with other talent. Sometimes with actors better than him (Jack Palance, Debra Winger) and other times by telling stories that sell on the strength of their appeal which ordinary people can relate to ('City Slickers'). You can accuse Crystal of being a one dimensional comedian but for an actor who started in television ('Soap' and a little known appearance on 'All in the Family'), he's done quite well for himself with acceptance among both critics and audiences alike.

Copyright 1998 Walter Frith

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