THE GIANT MECHANICAL MAN (2012)
starring Jenna Fischer and Chris Messina, Written and Directed by Lee Kirk
4 out of 5
Yes. I really liked this one, and the Metacritic average can kiss road kill.
Here's another Romantic Comedy, a Tribeca release, that plays smart with a message and makes even the ANTAGONISTS real people for whom we can feel sympathy. Yeah, there's a few tropes and some formula, but in my opinion, those are buried sufficiently deep beneath two very important things:
(1) This movie HAS a message, and it's a good one, a positive one, that's not presented too sickly sweet, and
(2) It's a sweet romantic story that's not Hollyweird gross.
The basic plotline follows our two main characters, Tim (Messina) and Janice (Fischer). Tim is a 'starving artist' street performer whose claim to "fame" (such as it is) is dressing up as a giant robot and standing on the street. His message, and the movie's message, is basically "we are becoming machines" and treat each other less and less humanly.
Fischer's Janice is the one to get his message. She's lost and feels invisible. Her life is a shambles. When she tries to ask directions (or some such), people in the busy, bustling city ignore her. She sees Tim's mechanical man act on the street and sees him.
They coincidentally meet later and a friendship, then romance develops. Dramatic tension is supplied by the efforts of Janice's sister to fix her up with ANNOYING and self absorbed (though idolized) author Doug (played wonderfully by "That 70's Show" star Topher Grace). This sets up our formulaic triangle but is good for a few laughs due largely to Grace's over-the-top caricature of a self-help author/speaker.
It's just a story. A nice one. And, a nice message...two people can find each other if they are seeing versus rushing through life chasing whatever people chase (money, career, peer recognition).
And the soundtrack is great; I loved the music in this movie. It really fit.
My hat is off to first time director Kirk. I'll be watching for his next cinematic effort.