Big (1988) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

Big (1988) Directed by Penny Marshall. With Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Robert Loggia, John Heard, Jared Rushton and David Moscow.

2.14321179

Co-written by Ann Spielberg (sister of Steven) and Gary Ross, Penny Marshall’s Big is a fantasy-comedy about Joshua, a 13-year-old boy who gets his wish to be “big” after using a creepy carnival machine at a local funfair. Not only does he get his wish – he gets to be Tom Hanks too, but not without sacrificing his teenage personality. In a bid to reverse the effect, Joshua is forced to track-down the machine which takes him to the Big (bad) Apple of New York City.

This is a carefree looking Tom Hanks, years before the heavy dramatic roles and Oscars started piling up. Hanks is great fun, fully basking in the spirit of a teenage-boy and ensuring a few laughs along the way. That said, I wouldn’t call Big a laugh-out-loud comedy; it’s more along the lines of a charming bit of fluff that prompts the occasional smile. Take for example the famous toy shop scene – it’s a stony soul who stares blank-faced at Robert Loggia and Hanks doing their ‘Chopsticks‘ routine on the worlds largest keyboard.

The idea of a young person ‘winging-it’ in the adult world is a ripe playground of fun. Beyond that, it also serves as a parable to say things about the cynicism of grown-ups and what is lost in the transition from boy to man.

While the lighter moments are undoubtedly fun; this being a Penny Marshall film – there’s a sprinkling of schmaltz in the script, the music and the photography. The film is sometimes weighed down by these elements, expecting us to feel invested in characters and relationships when we’re not really in that kind of a mood. All things considered, though, while Big isn’t a comedy classic – it is still a certain amount of fun that can be enjoyed by all of the family. 3/5

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About garethrhodes

Full-time lover of all things creative.
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13 Responses to Big (1988) Film Review by Gareth Rhodes

  1. movieblort says:

    I love ‘Big’. A proper feel good Sunday afternoon hangover film before going back to the office to be ‘big’ for real the next day.

  2. Marta says:

    I always find funny that this one was inspired by an Italian film (“Da grande”) that’s way better.

  3. filmfunkel says:

    Hope your tomorrow is ‘leftover hangover’ free. : D

  4. This is a fun no-brainer. Great review!

  5. Jay says:

    I have such a warm fuzzy spot for this film.

    • garethrhodes says:

      Yes, I can see why it would find its place in your heart. I recognised a few of the retro toys he was playing with – got that exact “fuzzy feeling”.

  6. lasttimeisaw says:

    I give it a 7/10, Hanks comedy bent is so perfectly showcased in this one, hope he can pick up more comic roles in the future, nice work!

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