Larger Than Life Blu-ray Review
Bill Murray is never better than when he’s just being himself and that’s really what makes a lot of his lesser films tolerable. LARGER THAN LIFE is a good example of a movie that doesn’t really work, but Murray’s presence makes it way more enjoyable than it should be. I’m of the belief that you can never have too much Bill Murray and anyone that feels the same way should get at least a little something out of LARGER THAN LIFE.
Jack (Murray) has just been told his father has died and left him an inheritance. Having never met the man, Jack is uninterested, but he’s motivated by getting that “large” inheritance. When he arrives to pick it up, he learns that all his father gave him was a circus elephant (named Vera) and a very large debt. In order to pay the debt, Jack has to get Vera across the country to sell to either a zookeeper or another animal trainer. Unfortunately for Jack, he has no money or means to actually make that happen.
The biggest issue with LARGER THAN LIFE is that it’s a movie tailor made for heartfelt moments, yet it completely lacks any heartfelt moments. The main reason why is how they crafted Jack’s relationship with his father. In the early part of the film, we learn Jack’s mother lied to him about his father and that Jack never knew who his father was and so he had no connection to this man that just left him an elephant. If he had a bad relationship with his father or just didn’t know him very well, then the film could have started to use Jack’s relationship with the elephant as symbolic for how he was getting to know his father. It was right there for the taking, but the screenwriters completely missed it.
But when LARGER THAN LIFE works, it works because of the interactions between Murray and Vera. It sounds strange, but Murray really played well off of the elephant and his reactions to her provided numerous laughs throughout the film. Matthew McConaughey shows up as a crazy truck driver that helps Jack and Vera on their trip and I got the feeling the filmmakers thought he was a lot funnier than he actually was. He came off more creepy than funny and didn’t match the vibe of the rest of the film. There was also a section of the film where he helps out a poor Mexican village and although it felt a little out of place, it was another missed opportunity for the filmmakers to focus on Jack’s character development.
When Bill Murray hangs up his acting career for good, LARGER THAN LIFE isn’t going to be mentioned as one of his best films. But it’s another example of Bill Murray being Bill Murray and he adds enough natural charm and humor to the film that it’s actually enjoyable. The film had its share of problems, but Bill Murray wasn’t one of them.
Video: As with all Olive Films releases, you should just be happy they released this on Blu-ray. This is the best the film has ever looked, but that’s not exactly a ringing endorsement.
Audio: The audio was fine.
There are no special features