There is just something sad about remaking an old classic by injecting pop culture references and modern humor. Case in point: Gulliver's Travels, the Jack Black-starring disaster that hits all the wrong notes.
In Gulliver's Travels, Black stars as the title character, who, after trying to impress a woman he works with ends up on an island populated by extremely tiny people. While hesitant at first, they soon learn to appreciate Gulliver's assistance... Well, except for one guy who decides he'll destroy Gulliver's reputation and show the islanders who the real big man in town is.
Gulliver's Travels commits plenty of sins, the biggest of all being that it can't decide which audience it wants to cater to. The movie should be for kids, but director Rob Letterman gets it all wrong. Where he should be generating a sense of awe and engaging the imagination, Letterman instead opts to tell a very dull story about adults falling in love with one another that is merely sprinkled with lame, goofy antics.
Jack Black works best when he's able to add some spice to his humor; in this PG-rated film, he's neutered. Co-star Jason Segel is another actor who is at his best when he can be crude, and yet he too is incapacitated here.
Letterman tries to appeal to kids and adults, but fails in both aspects. Gulliver's Travels is amazingly unfunny and just gets worse as it goes along. When the villain of the film shows up in a Jack Black-sized robot for a battle to the death, you realize just how unimaginative the filmmakers were during the pre-production phase. Oh, and the production phase. And in post-production.
Gulliver's Travels has nothing going for it, which is why it made only a third of its $110 million budget back domestically. Even the inclusion of "Gulliver's Fun Pack" - a fancy name for bonus features disc - can't save this not-so-tiny piece of crap.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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