Movie Name: Big
Studio: Gracie Films
Release Date(s): June 3, 1988
MPAA Rating: PG
Josh Baskin (David Moscow) always finds himself too small and not even a tag along for the girl he likes. When he makes a wish to a Zoltar machine at a carnival, Josh wakes up the next morning as an adult (Tom Hanks). With the help of his friend Billy (Jared Rushton), Josh makes it to New York City and lucks into a toy testing job at MacMillian’s Toy Company…hired by McMillian (Robert Loggia) himself. As his coworkers Paul Davenport (John Heard) and Susan Lawrence (Elizabeth Perkins) question his background, Josh grows on Susan. Billy searches for the Zoltar machine, and Josh finds himself questioning if he wants to be a kid again.
Directed by Penny Marshall, Big was an early hit for Tom Hanks to show some acting chomps. Nominated for Best Actor (losing to Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man) in addition to Best Original Screenplay (also won by Rain Man), Big was well liked by critics and has held on to be one of the better and smarter comedies to come out of the ’80s.
I am not a huge Tom Hanks fan, but I love Big. I felt Tom Hanks was entertaining up until Philadelphia (which he was good in), but I enjoyed him much better when he wasn’t an “actor”. This is my favorite Tom Hanks film and I like it because he does a great job capturing a child. Unlike someone like Jim Carrey, Hanks does it with a sense of innocence. Hank really feels like a grown up kid.
Hanks is aided by a smart script. You don’t want Hanks to hurt his family by remaining an adult and you don’t want him to miss his childhood. At the same time, you like the life he’s built for himself at the toy company and you don’t want him to hurt Susan. A simple script would have you just want Josh to be a kid again…plus the script keeps this serious side while being funny (the holiday party scene is a great example of the humor).
Big is a fun film that has stood the test of time. It is hard to date a movie that has no special effect, but it is an ’80s movie that is set in the ’80s. That might be hard for some to swallow, but if you simply go with the smartly made film, you will enjoy Big.
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