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Gigantic

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“Gigantic” represents the dark side of what Sundance has wrought: self-consciously quirky indie films that don’t have a single natural, uncontrived moment in them.

Why, here’s Paul Dano playing a quiet young man who’s uncertain about his future! His name is Brian, and he even has an unusual job, selling high-end mattresses out of what looks like a large loft apartment. Oh, and he’s trying to adopt a Chinese baby. Quirky!

And here comes Zooey Deschanel as the delightful pixie girl who changes Brian’s life! Her name is Harriet, but everyone calls her — holy crap, are you kidding me? — Happy. That’s right, the character’s name is Happy. She comes into Brian’s mattress store to buy a bed for her dad, then falls asleep for 2 1/2 hours, then wakes up and says to Brian, “Do you have any interest in having sex with me?” Quirky!

Her father (John Goodman) is a loudmouth millionaire who lounges on the kitchen floor because of chronic back problems and refuses to ride in taxis. Quirky!

Brian’s father (Ed Asner) hunts wild mushrooms for a once-a-year duck banquet prepared by a French chef. Quirky! A homeless man (Zach Galifianakis) stalks, and sometimes attacks, Brian. Quirky! Brian’s friend works in a laboratory testing rats’ depression levels. Quirky!

And on and on, ad nauseum. I love Zooey Deschanel, but how many times has she played this exact same role? And why do beginning filmmakers think putting two “quirky” people together in an awkward, tentative romance is the same thing as telling a story? First-timer Matt Aselton seems to have ingested a hundred forgettable indie comedies, regurgitated them, and applied the random title “Gigantic” to what came up. In the future, I’ll thank him to keep his vomit to himself.

D (1 hr., 36 min.; R, a lot of harsh profanity, some sexual dialogue, some partial nudity, a little violence.)

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