Crashing on an air mattress in her old childhood home, Anne Hathaway is an out-of-work blogger takes a job working with an old friend, a bar owner
played by Jason Sudeikis,
who's always had an unrequited crush on her. Up to now, I admit this
all sounds terribly conventional, even if it does have random newscasts
in the background showing a rampaging lizard destroying Seoul.
Eventually, Hathaway realizes the monster is somehow being controlled by
her, despite having no connection whatsoever to Seoul. She convinces
her new friends, including a coked-up Tim Blake Nelson and thickheaded Austin Stonewall that the monster is her, and this is when COLOSSAL gets really interesting.
As much as Hathaway is the lead, the movie hinges on Sudeikis's
performance. He's perfectly cast,
with a dark twist revealing something interesting that subverts the
pining nice guy stereotype. I won't give away what it is, but it takes Colossal into surprisingly dark territory, with the lives of millions at
stake. That director Nacho Vigolando is able to do this without ever really showing
any carnage or even the monster itself (created with some admittedly
dodgy special effects that could have been cleaned-up a bit). It's a truly impressive mix of comedy,
tragedy, spectacle and some dark drama, but it all comes together really
Colossal also marks a return to form for Hathaway, who's mostly cast
in big studio films but often does her best work in indie fare. In a
way, this is a companion piece to RACHEL GETTING MARRIED, with her
character a similar party-girl, with a substance abuse problem, which is played mostly for laughs, with Dan Stevens as her boyfriend. As the movie goes on, you
understand why Hathaway would opt for such an offbeat assignment, as
she’s really given the opportunity to carry the film and play a
character who’s not defined by her relationships, as she too often is in most of her films. This is really Hathaway at her best.
The only problem with the premise of Colossal is that the “rules”
they try to establish for the monsters don’t really hold up to scrutiny,
and the conclusion is a little too clever for its own good. It’s clear
Vigolando also wanted to end the film on a note that would please genre
fans, although it feels out of tune with the rest of the film, still, Colossal is a defiantly
original, often very funny, monster movie.