In Brief: Downsizing if one of the year’s most disappointing movies.
To combat global warming and other planet resource gobbling issues, scientists have devised a way to shrink people to an average of 5-inches in height. They’re then put into little cities where their money is much more valuable than it is at normal height. It appears that everyone is rich.
Matt Damon is Paul. Unhappy in his work and with life, Paul and his wife take the plunge. Or at least he does. What he finds in Leisureland is far from the perfection promised. The story has Paul connecting with his rich, unscrupulous upstairs neighbor and a Vietnamese refugee.
They’re done by Oscar and Golden Globe winning character actor Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Thailand born actress Hong Chau. Waltz — like a great cast of character actors, Damon and some wonderful cameos — is wasted. She is not. If there is a reason to see Downsizing, it’s Chau.
Alexander Payne (The Descendants, Nebraska) writes and directs his first film in four years. He’s usually spot on with story and character development. In this one Chau is the only multi-layered character and will get award nominations — and might even win a few — for her work.
Payne’s disappointing movie will not. A premise this creative demands a darker, more impactful plot. If the term is appropriate, Downsizing is a more than a little disappointing. That’s wordplay. It’s actually a great premise totally wasted with a script and a premise that by mid-movie has nowhere to go but — wordplay again — down.
Director: Alexander Payne
Stars: Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Kristen Wiig, Udo Kier, Jason Sudeikis, Neil Patrick Harris, Laura Dern, Margo Martindale, James Van Der Beek, Mary Kay Place, Don Lake
Rated R for graphic nudity, language, mature themes. The biggest downer about Downsizing is the disappointing failure to turn what appears to be a great idea into something deeper. Give it an average 2 1/2 out of 5 on the Average Joe Movie 0 to 5 scale.
5 to 4 1/2: Must see on the big screen.
4 to 3 1/2: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 to 2 1/2: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 to 1: Don’t bother.
0:Speaks for itself.
Gary Wolcott has been a movie consultant for KXL since 2014. A lifelong fan of film, he’s been a film critic in radio, television and newspaper for 25-years. Wolcott catches a couple of hundred movies a year and he sees a great many of them so you don’t have to.
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