Larger Than Life, based on story by Pen Densham
Bill Murray is always a pleasure to watch, seeing as he is one of the Titans of his trade, even when the material is not outstanding, as is alas the case here, with a Smaller than Life script.
The hero of this comedy is Jack Corcoran aka Bill Murray, a motivational speaker with some strange and humorous solutions for people's troubles, who need to "Get Over It" like he did, when his father had passed away before he was born.
In the first few scenes, the protagonist has participants at his gigs climb on the back of one another, presumably to help them overcome difficulties, teach them how to cope with adversity and trauma...
The man who arranges these speeches has something better in New Orleans, for the client is unhappy with the events so far...he will not travel to th next gig anyway, for something tragic happens.
His mother has hidden the truth from him and he finds that his father who had worked for a circus had just died and he has left a huge inheritance.
Jack travels to see the lawyer and he gets papers to sign, thereby agreeing with onerous terms as he will find right away, when an...elephant comes near the window and the lawyer reveals that this is the inheritance and it actually translates in a debt to pay.
The protagonist stands up from his chair, says he will just take the trunk which had been presented earlier and that is all he will take before he departs, without the animal, in spite of the protests and threats of the counselor who has the bills states that the large pachyderm has just destroyed another fence...
The hero walks out of the office and into the streets, but he is stopped by the local police and the lawyer who presents some legal documents, a policeman restrains the "fugitive" and explains he has to take the huge animal away.
The elephant is called Vera, the father gave Jack's mother's name to his best friend and she is a wonderful treat, the only other attraction, next to Bill Murray, in a rather poor offering.
Evidently, the hero cannot take the huge inheritance and keep it in his living room, so he tries the local zoo, without success and then he will have to pursue one of two choices, the first is Mo, an animal rights activist and lover, who offers thirty thousand from her budget, to take Vera to Sri Lanka, where she would be liberated with other elephants.
The hero needs the money to pay what he owes and tries another venue, somewhat later in the Road to Perdition or Salvation.
Along the way, he is helped to some extent by a former friend of his late father, who shows him the astonishing things that Vera can do, provided the trainer knows what he wants and has the charisma, right energy and bond with her to convince her to do it.
She can stand, push a cart and many other incredible acts...including walking and stopping, to the chagrin of the protagonist who had found it next to impossible to make her move or stop heretofore.
Nevertheless, this is the moment when the public may get more worried, for the question is raised about how did the animal performing for the film learned to do all the tricks?
It is known that in the training of wild animals, severe punishments, abuse, electric shocks have been used - indeed this issue is raised in this film itself - and this is the reason why in so many lands, circuses are banned or the use of wild animals is prohibited.
The friend of the dead father offers to take Jack and his companion to California, where Natural Talent and Terry Bonura, the woman in charge, owner of the business, would offer more than the thirty thousand available at this point.
The truck breaks down, the hero has to take another one that he rents, claiming he knows how to drive it, but when he has to, he does all the wrong things, unable to get the chair in the proper place, while on the highway, he pushes the calamity button and the front part of the truck bends over.
The truck is damaged and therefore another solution is required for the team that wants to reach the West Coast and the hero thinks he finds it at the gas station where a bizarre, obnoxious character enters the stage...
Matthew McConaughey has never been one of this cinephile's favorites, on the contrary, he is placed on a black list of actors to avoid as much as possible for they deliver annoying performances, for the most part.
However, it is rarely possible to see such a terrible show, a performance that is difficult to watch, over the board,exaggerated and detrimental for the movie.
Tip Tucker aka McConaughey is not an amusing, comical character, but the one who makes the viewer leave the cinema, shut down the TV, even consider cancelling the cable subscription.
This was a hyperbole, but meant to underline the extent to which his hand has been overplayed, turning a grotesque personage into one that is difficult to watch.
Without this abnormal, pathetic piece of acting, the film would have been better.
It is very possible that others see things differently and appreciate the character and the performance, after all, this man has won an Academy Award - not for Tip Tucker, God forbid!