Movie Review: Big Laughs? Or Just Big?

Gulliver's Travels

We all know the 18th-century story of Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, where the main character finds himself a giant amongst the tiny people of a mysterious faraway land, Lilliput. In this modern-day retelling, Jack Black (Kung Fu Panda) plays the title role as a Manhattan mail room clerk. He's smitten by an editor at the office, but Darcy (2012's Amanda Peet) is clearly out of his league. To get her attention, Gulliver tricks her into believing that he's actually a writer -- so she sends him on assignment to the Bermuda Triangle to cover a story.

After a fierce storm, Gulliver is shipwrecked and awakens in Lilliput -- where at first he is held captive, but then rises to hero status. Along the way, he helps another unlikely duo get together -- the island's princess (The Young Victoria's Emily Blunt) and an adoring commoner (Jason Segel from Despicable Me). Helping his new friends get together gives Gulliver much insight as to how he could win over Darcy. Now if only he could find a way to be back on the same ground with her again.

The comic-adventure film relies a bit too much on crude humor and special effects (although the 3D enhancement is once again unnecessary). It may not be that funny or adventurous, but there's some mild entertainment here thanks to a talented cast that rises above a silly script. It's not the best family film out this year, but it's certainly not the worst either. Directed and co-written by Rob Letterman (Monsters vs. Aliens). [Rated PG; opens Christmas Day]

Grade: B-


  • The minor recommendation is helped along by a fun new animated short that precedes the film. Scrat’s Continental Crack-Up is a great sneak peek at what lies ahead for the Ice Age series -- as Ice Age: Continental Drift is expected to hit theaters on July 13, 2012.
  • Click on the Film Reviews icon at left for more reviews -- including Rabbit Hole, which opens wider on Christmas Day.

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