By: Henry J. Fromage (Three Beers) –
A diehard Giants fan spends his days working at a tollbooth and his nights calling into sports talk radio shows. When he meets his hero things start to go awry.
Robert Siegel, former writer and editor of the Onion, is starting to build a very different reputation as a voice for often ignored blue collar subcultures with The Wrestler and now Big Fan. This is his directorial debut and he does a decent job, but his strength is definitely the writing. He captures the joy, frustrations, and sometimes sad ridiculousness of his characters and their culture without ever resorting to caricature.
This is going maybe a bit too far.
Patton Oswalt, another funnyman, has an excellent performance against type. Some critics have called it a brave one, and he definitely doesn’t hold anything back in submerging himself in his character. While there are still some funny moments in the film, such as an extremely uncomfortable masturbation conversation with his mother, you would never guess he was anything but a mid-30s Giants fan and tollbooth operator fromNew York. That’s the highest praise you can give an actor.
How often do you spank it, honey?
Unfortunately, the rest of the acting is pedestrian at best. There are a few familiar faces, but the majority of the cast looks like they came from a community center drama class inTrenton,NJ. None of them are absolutely terrible, but they’re never more than forgettable.
© 2009 Chris Northam
A final beer goes for my final feeling about the film. It just didn’t have the emotional heft of The Wrestler and it’s hard to pinpoint the reason, although it might just be that I found it hard to empathize. Maybe you’ll find more in common with the characters, and subtract beers accordingly.
What am I saying? Never subtract beers.
Watch it. Patton Oswalt’s performance alone is worth the price of admission.
Bonus Drinking Game
Take a drink: every time you see a New York Giants logo
Take a drink: every time Oswald calls in to a radio show
Drink a shot: every time Oswald is bitch-slapped by reality