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"MY GIANT"
(1998) (Billy Crystal, Gheorghe Muresan) (PG)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Mild Mild Minor Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Minor None Minor None Mild
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Minor Mild Mild Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Comedy: A second-rate talent agent learns some valuable lessons about life after discovering a 7'7" Romanian giant he hopes to put in the movies.
PLOT:
Sammy (BILLY CRYSTAL) is a broke, second-rate talent agent who's just been fired by his only client while on location on a movie set in Romania. Despondent over that, and the fact that his separated wife, Serena (KATHLEEN QUINLAN), and son, Nick (ZANE CARNEY), are moving across the country, Sam isn't paying attention and runs his car off the road and nearly drowns in a creek. Believing that he's dead, he's happy to see two giant hands reach down into his car and pull him to safety. Those hands don't belong to God, however, but to Max (GHEORGHE MURESAN), a 7'7" caretaker who lives in a monastery. Once Sammy learns that Max is no ordinary giant and can quote Shakespeare, he instantly sees dollar figures.

After casting Max in that local movie in Romania, the two new friends head to America where Sammy hopes to jumpstart his own career by making Max a movie star. Max, however, is more interested in going to see his childhood love, Lillianna (JOANNA PACULA), who now lives in New Mexico, but has never responded to any of the thousands of letters he's sent her over the past two decades. Heading to Las Vegas to audition Max for the latest Steven Seagal movie, Sammy learns some disheartening news about Max that not only changes his attitude toward his giant friend, but also toward himself.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of the multi-talented Crystal, basketball star Muresan, or of heartfelt comedies in general, they just might.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG
For language, mild violence and brief crude humor.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • BILLY CRYSTAL plays a second-rate talent agent who puts more energy and dedication into his career than his family. He also initially wants to use Max just as his own meal ticket, but later changes his ways once he better knows his new friend.
  • GHEORGHE MURESAN plays a true, gentle giant who is more comfortable with farm animals than people since they don't see him as a freak.
  • KATHLEEN QUINLAN plays Sammy's wife who wants things to work out for them and their family.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 6 out of 10
    Talk about a big concept. Based on star Billy Crystal's meetings and discussions with the late professional wrestler, Andre the Giant, about his life as a giant (on the set of their movie, "The Princess Bride"), this film is a mixture of flat out visual gags, comedy, and a lot of Frank Capra- esque material. Better than his last film, "Father's Day," but not as good as "When Harry Met Sally," or "City Slickers, this picture should please Crystal's fans as long as they're not holding their breath for nonstop, outrageous comedy.

    Easily winning hands down for the best sight gag -- the diminutive Crystal paired with the towering Muresan -- contained in any movie within the last few years, the film starts off on a quick, comedic pace. With some brief, introduction to the story voice overs, we learn that Crystal's character, Sammy, is an opportunist with little luck, no money, and a pubescent client who's just fired him. He's also separated from his wife and has just learned that she's taking their son and moving across the country. It's a decent, standard setup for a film like this and puts matters in place that will need the Capra touch ("It's A Wonderful Life") to set those things straight by the end.

    Crystal's not going for outrageous comedy here, but the sight of him eating at Max's gargantuan table -- with his feet dangling from the oversized chair and using a soup spoon the size of a ladle - - is quite funny. The sight gags continue throughout the first half (Max riding in Sammy's tiny convertible making it look like a go-cart, etc...) as do Crystal's one-liners ("I don't like heights. That's why I stopped growing in the fifth grade"), but the comedy well pretty much runs dry in the second half as the movie turns more into a sentimental collection of life lessons. While that sounds somewhat sappy -- and it is a little -- Crystal and his onscreen chemistry with Muresan make the film easy to watch.

    As always, Crystal aptly handles and balances the comic and sentimental material with relative ease, and is as much fun to watch as ever. He's the comic "every man" and while he often does play his standard "neurotic Jew" material for laughs (waking up in a monastery but seeing a crucifix, he comments that he's in Heaven, but "the wrong one"), he doesn't come off as wimpy like Woody Allen. Although this isn't one of his better roles, he's decent in it.

    Muresan, the 7'7" basketball center for the Washington Wizards, does a decent job in his film debut -- especially considering the circumstances. Not only is he awkwardly tall to appear in this, or any movie (yes, that's part of the joke), but Muresan didn't speak a great deal of English before the film began shooting. Although his pronunciation is occasionally difficult to understand, his weeks of training did pay off. Perfectly at ease on the camera, Muresan creates a very sympathetic and good-natured character and, although it's questionable how many roles will be offered to him in the future, he certainly holds his own in this one.

    Director Michael Lehmann ("Heathers," "The Truth About Cats And Dogs") and screenwriter David Seltzer ("The Omen," "Punchline") have fashioned a pleasant enough film that offers few surprises but doesn't suffer horribly from being too predictable. The chemistry between Crystal and Muresan seems natural, is enjoyable, and adequately compensates for the lack of humor in the second half.

    Even so, most viewers will probably think this is a laugh-a-minute riot (based on the visual thoughts of the pairing and from the advertising) and may be disappointed when the film turns a little mushy toward the end ("I was a small man wanting to be big and he was a big man wanting to be small," etc...) and goes for tugging at your heart instead of tickling the funny bone. Although it's not a great movie by any means, as long as you don't expect it to be an outrageously funny movie you'll probably find it agreeably enjoyable. We give "My Giant" a 6 out of 10.

    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Profanity is really about the only thing with which to be concerned in this movie and includes several uses of the "s" word and a few others. There's a brief, but funny, scene involving projectile vomiting, and Sammy initially wants to use Max just to further his career instead of helping the giant. Beyond that, there's a little bit of material in several categories, but nothing that's horribly bad. Still, you may want to look through those categories just to be sure.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Sammy and Max drink what appears to be wine several times, and Max appears just a bit tipsy the second time.
  • After Sammy tells a set manager that they "need something to loosen him (Max) up," we later see Max rather intoxicated and learn that he drank nearly an entire bottle of wine.
  • People drink wine with dinner at Sammy's parent's house.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Max, feeling ill after nearly drinking an entire bottle of wine, throws up (with massive projectile vomiting) onto an actor on a movie set.
  • Max has just a tiny bit of blood on his face after a wrestling match performance.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Max comments that people were mean to him in the past due to his enormous size, and we still see people gawking at him in public. Max also mentions that his parents told him that he was possessed by the devil (the reason he was growing so much) and then left him at a monastery, never to see him again.
  • A film director is somewhat belligerent toward his crew (in a Hollywood inside joke type of way).
  • Some people might not like the joke about Sammy (as a young Jewish boy) having just convinced a rabbi to eat pork who comments on not knowing what he had been missing.
  • Sammy initially sees Max as his meal ticket and not as a real person. Later, a film producer does the same.
  • Sammy lies to Max about talking to Lillianna (and other related material), but does so to prevent Max's feelings from being hurt.
  • We learn that Lillianna never replied to any of Max's letters (because she thought he was obsessed in a dangerous way).
  • Not believing that he's actually talking to Steven Seagal, Nick mockingly comments on what he really thinks about Seagal's acting and movies.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • There are some brief moments involving Sammy being in his car after it's flipped over into a creek and he states (in a voice over) that he's dead.
  • The youngest of kids might be a little unnerved as Sammy sneaks around the giant's home (during a thunderstorm) as we hear him lumbering about upstairs (all of which is quickly dispelled once we finally see Max).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handgun: Seen in a clip from a "Dirty Harry" movie that Max and Sammy watch in a movie theater.
  • Swords: Used during mock fighting scenes on a movie set.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Scum sucking pig," "Farted," "Schmuck," "Freak" and "Screw" (nonsexual).
  • A man makes the male masturbation sign when Sammy tells him he's taking Max to be in Steven Seagal's movie.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • There's just a tiny bit of playfully dramatic/tense music in one scene.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 6 "s" words, 4 hells, 1 damn, 1 crap, and 2 uses of "Oh my God," 1 use each of "G- damn," "Jesus Christ," "Jesus," "Godforsaken," "For God's sakes," and "For Christ's sakes" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • There's a very brief innuendo scene as Sammy climbs down from standing on Max's shoulders. As he does so, his crotch momentarily stops in front of Max's face just as a monsignor passes by and gives them a confused look.
  • A woman asks, "How big is your..." to Max (we don't really hear the word, although she's definitely referring to his genitals, but he never answers).
  • SMOKING
  • A man on a movie set smokes.
  • Sammy's uncle smokes a cigar.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Sammy is separated from Serena and she tells him that she and their son Nick are going to move halfway across the country.
  • We also learn that Serena and Nick are upset and disappointed that Sammy focuses more time and energy on his flagging career than on his family.
  • Max comments that he hasn't seen his parents (nor wants to) since they dropped him off at the monastery once he started growing.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • People who are truly giants, and how one shouldn't gawk at them or anyone else who is "different" than the norm.
  • That happiness is often found with family instead of career success.
  • VIOLENCE
  • Max and Sammy watch a "Dirty Harry" film in a movie theater that shows Clint Eastwood firing his gun several times.
  • There's some staged (fake) violence involving sword fighting, and later some martial arts moves with Steven Seagal on his movie set.
  • Some dwarf wrestlers kick and hit Max in a wrestling match.
  • A wrestling promoter punches Sammy in the gut and his buddy then knees Sammy in the face. Max then comes to the rescue and slugs the first guy and then throws the second guy onto the top of a car.



  • Reviewed March 25, 1998

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