Big ★★★½

Once it gets past that first night in the dirty, scary-in-the-‘80s-New York motel, Big glosses over the darker and prurient aspects of what would surely be a harrowing experience. I’m not saying this should fulfill the dreams of a YouTube horror trailer, but it’s kind of crazy how the heaviness of the story is ignored in favor of light dramedy, turning a truly odd pitch into a family-friendly blockbuster.

Maybe it’s the Hanks of it all? He is truly magnetic here, which is no surprise. Much of that is due to his natural charisma, but the deeper emotions of the story—the loss of innocence as we enter adulthood, the cynicism of adults making toys for and marketing to children, and the very baby boomer idea that adulthood isn’t all it’s cracked up to be—all manage to draw out a performance that’s more than just slapstick “kid in an adult costume” vibes. Though there is plenty of that, too.

If anything, I wish there were deeper examinations of those briefly touched on themes and less of the vaguely upsetting romantic plot, but as far as body-switching comedies go, this is probably the best?

shaunline liked this review