Gulliver's Travels review ?

It is better to travel hopefully than to arrive. Rarely has the old adage been so apt than in the case of this truly terrible mix of inept direction, painful stunt casting and joke-free script. On the face of it, a film that features Jack Black, Billy Connolly, Catherine Tate, Jason Segel and Chris O'Dowd should be capable of raising a smile. In fact, the only thing it raises is your hackles as you realise this is 90-something minutes you will never get back. When a film's one selling point is its mercifully short running time, you're onto a loser. When even the film company can't think of a tag line beyond “From the studio that brought you Night At The Museum”, well, that's just further proof to keep your cash in your pocket.

You can probably guess the plot from the title and the assumption that, as per, the other what 80 or 90% of Swift's satirical classic won't get a look in and, instead, this will be human interacting with the good citizens of Lilliput. And yes, that's precisely what you get. This time out, Gulliver (Black) is a postroom clerk for a New York newspaper. He's shy, retiring, socially inept and utterly in love with travel editor Darcy (Peet). After faking his abilities as a journalist in an effort to get closer to her, Gulliver gets an assignment to investigate the Bermuda Triangle, whereupon a mysterious storm sees him washed up on the shores of Lilliput.

After initially being treated as an enemy spy, Gulliver comes to the rescue of the King (Connolly) and is treated like a hero, a situation he takes advantage of, much to the delight of the Princess (Blunt) and the commoner who loves her (Segel) and the annoyance of her tedious fiancé General Edward (O'Dowd). And then...

Oh who cares? If you go to see it, you'll find out then. If you don't – and I cannot recommend highly enough that you don't – you don't give a monkey's. Besides, getting to this point of the review is already more time and effort than was clearly spent on the screenplay, which somehow takes people who can be funny reading the phone book and leaves them floundering in embarrassment.

Remarkably, it only gets worse, finishing on a song and dance number – it must be some sort of Jack Black contract requirement – that has Gulliver solving Lilliput's foreign policy issues with a rendition of Edwin Starr's War. What is it good for? The same as this pisspoor family film: absolutely nothing.

Gulliver's Travels at IMDb

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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