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Rated 3.03 stars
by 289 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Sweet and Romantic
by Betty Jo Tucker

I absolutely love The Giant Mechanical Man! It’s a charming romantic comedy with characters I couldn’t help caring about. Jenna Fischer and Chris Messina generate sweet chemistry together as two lonely people who find each other during stressful times in their lives. However, the road to true love can be a rocky one, and sometimes the biggest bumps come from meddling family members who mean well but do the wrong things for the right reasons.

Janice (Fischer) is having a bad time -- she’s lost her job as a temp, and there’s no money to pay her rent. Her only option? To call her sister Jill (Malin Ackerman). These two siblings simply couldn’t be more different. Jill loves to talk -- a lot! Janice doesn’t say much, except to a tall mechanical mime she sees performing on the street. Jill enjoys being around people. Janice is more of a loner. Clearly, when Janice moves in with Jill and her husband (Rick Sommer), it’s no bed of roses for either of the sisters. Jill annoys Janice with her efforts to make her more outgoing and goal-oriented -- but especially with her matchmaking plans involving Doug (Topher Grace), an obnoxious guy who’s written a book about improving your conversation ability.                

Meanwhile, Tim (Messina) faces problems of his own. His unique artistic passion -- painting himself silver, wearing stilts and posing as a robotic statue in various places around the city (Chicago) -- has alienated his girlfriend, who’s much more of a go-getter. That breakup must have been coming for a long time! Consequently, like Janice, Tim needs a paying job now.

And guess what? Both Tim and Janice find menial jobs at the zoo. Of course, Janice doesn’t know Tim is the giant mechanical man she speaks to -- and Tim isn’t about to reveal his artistic identity. Janice soon falls for Tim, who’s easy to talk with, and Tim begins to have feelings for her. But Janice’s sister has other plans for her. Jill keeps pushing Doug and Janice together, which puts a damper on the romance blooming between Janice and Tim.

All this might not sound very exciting to some potential viewers, but Fischer (TV’s The Office; Blades of Glory) and Messina (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) give such wonderful performances that I started rooting for Janice and Tim early on and didn’t want to miss a look or word between the two of them. Plus Ackerman (Couples Retreat) does a terrific job as the lovingly nagging sister, and Grace (In Good Company) should get a best supporting actor nomination for his very funny portrayal of an overbearing author/motivator.    

It’s so refreshing to see a romantic comedy that avoids raunchy scenes or dialogue! Kudos to director/writer Lee Kirk for emphasizing character development and for building The Giant Mechanical Man around an important theme. In a world filled with people trying to improve/change each other, I agree that it only takes ONE supportive person to make you believe in yourself.   

(Released by Tribeca Film and rated “PG-13” for some sexual content and brief strong language.)

For more information about The Giant Mechanical Man, go to the Internet Movie Data Base or Rotten Tomatoes website.

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