More of a pleasant outing then a great escape.
PG, 87 Minutes. Starring: Jack Black, Emily Blunt, Jason Segal, Billy Connolly, Amanda Peet, Catherine Tate, James Corden & Olly Alexander. Director: Rob Letterman. Screenplay: Joe Stillman, Nicholas Stoller
Robert Swift's 18Th century classic 'Gulliver's Travels' has been given a modern day, funny twist this Boxing Day for a kids holiday favourite . Funny man Jack Black tenaciously works for laughs in another film that looks great in 3D from the beginning of the credits to every scene of special effects, big or small.
'Gulliver's Travels' itinerary is simple. Gulliver (played by Jack) is in dire straights. No money, no chick and nothings coming free. He's just a mail man, in love with the same woman for the last five years, he's going nowhere. Now I'm sure I've seen this scenario in 'School Of Rock', but anyway Gulliver tries to work it out as some put down advice is music to his ears. Gulliver lands himself a travel writing assignment that lands him right in the Bermuda triangle, which ties him into the small world of Lilliput. Not a good look for a man of Jack Blacks stature.
Here Gulliver is now surrounded by a host of British actors and one American with a British accent (at least there's no Orange shop). The Yank, Jason Segal plays Horatio who is ousted by the king and queen of Lilliput and the villain of this piece because he took a fancy to the royal families princess. The little people don't think much of their new, big addition either until Gulliver saves the Princess from kidnap, puts out a fire with the old 'water the plants' method and puts his fat to good use.
From there on it really is Gulliver's world. With everything tailored to him, with some hilarious movie and pop culture references from 'Star Wars' to Kiss. Although Gulliver has sold them a tall story about his life, everyone is convinced except our villain, deadpanned brilliant by 'The I.T. Crowds' Chris O' Dowd, who has had a brilliant turn in Hollywood, ever since hilariously reserving a place as a blind fencer in 'Dinner For Schmucks'.
The rest of the British talent is on top form. Billy Connolly and Catherine Tate are just regally right as the king and queen. While Racheal Weiz of the moment, Emily Blunt hams it up perfectly as a confused, swooning princess. The Americans look good on their travels too, Jason Segal is a convincing British, would be charismatic leading man as Horatio and the beautiful Amanda Peet stands out as Gulliver's love interest. Jack Black couldn't get a woman like that...could he? They say humor is a great aphrodisiac however and Jack is back on top, comedic appealing form.
This film is tailored for kids, and it's a good design. The jokes are funny but also parent worthy all without going over children's heads like most PG films these days. From iPhone applications to use of Prince lyrics for chat up line courtship there are some real gem moments. There's even some song and dance, as Black and the cast make Chris Tucker and Jackie Chan proud with their good for a finale rendition of Edwin Starr's 'War'.
Sure there are some lulls, but the strong cast, great look of the film and it's enjoyable nature keep this ship afloat. This film doesn't get lost as it doesn't take itself too seriously, at all. It's just an enjoyable farce. Even if you think it's more yawn then yarn at least one things good (for U.K. Fans at least), you don't have to watch that Orange commercial sneaked in before films again. The real 'Gulliver's Travels' has hit shores and it all pulls and ties together quite nicely. TIM DAVID HARVEY.