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What if you crisscrossed Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim with a 1990s rom-com (Pacific Rom Com?), then sprinkled in some comic-tinged sci-fi and hit the puree button on your blender? The concoction would resemble Colossal, a cute-meet Cloverfield from indie horror director Nacho Vigalondo (Timecrimes, Open Windows) that stars major stars Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, who are up for the director's nonsense, and even elevate it to a place that might make Colossal more palatable to mainstream crowds.
On paper, the premise sounds fun as hell (and it is -- for the most part). Party girl Gloria (Hathaway) has tested the last nerve of her current boyfriend (Dan Stevens), so he packs her shit and boots her out. With nowhere to go, Gloria heads to her hometown, where a chance encounter with a former grade-school friend (Sudeikis) sets her on a different path.
Only, something's wrong with Gloria. She's suffering blackouts. She's suffering memory loss. And when news reports alert the globe to the presence of a Kaiju creature attacking Seoul, South Korea, Gloria begins to suspect that she has a connection with the monster, with hilarious results. Yes, you heard that right.
Strange and funny, Colossal takes the conventional girl-on-the-rebound story and steers it down several unexpected avenues with a handful of left turns. Gloria discovers that a small park in the center of her hometown is somehow acting as a surrogate for Seoul, and every time she steps foot in the area, the creature reappears and wrecks havoc. Even better, when Sudeikis accidentally stumbles into the park, something... else happens. I'll leave that for you to discover.
The only real issue with Colossal, which played at this year's Toronto International Film Festival, is that it squanders its potential by trying to toe the line of a mainstream film, perhaps because Nacho Vigalondo looked up and realized that he had two legitimate movie stars at his disposal -- no offense to Open Windows star Elijah Wood -- so he broke from character and tried to do what a mainstream director would do. And make no mistake, Nacho Vigalondo is not a mainstream director. He could have gotten very weird with Colossal, exploring the sci-fi conundrum introduced by the central premise of the movie. Instead, he sidetracks into melodrama as Gloria analyzes her relationships and Sudeikis' character starts to disrupt his own peaceful and semi-normal life.
But in general, it's good to support quirky, original and wild ideas like Colossal, especially when they lure marquee names like Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. These two didn't need to take a break from big-budget comedies and Oscar bait dramas to play around in the offbeat sci-fi monster sandbox of a filmmaker like Nacho. But having seen the result, I'm really glad that they did.