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"Colossal" Review

When the first trailer for Colossal dropped, the premise was a grabber: A young woman (Yummy Girl, known to you people as Anne Hathaway) discovers that she is somehow responsible for a giant kaiju monster stomping on Seoul, South Korea. Hijinks ensue. What's not to like about that? Sounds like fun, right? What the trailers don't reveal and most reviews have hidden - though the first one I read explicitly blew the back half in order to allow for SJW axe-grinding - is that the fun rapidly drains out in service of some ugly turns which aren't earned. If you're concerned about spoilers, jump to the score and come back later.

After an odd prologue showing the monster appearing in Seoul 25 years ago (which is eventually explained), we meet Yummy Girl as she wanders into her Manhattan apartment after another night out partying, babbling rote excuses about how her being gone all night isn't her fault to her clearly steamed boyfriend. Fed up with never seeing her unless she's hungover and carrying her after being unemployed for a year, he's kicking her out.

With nowhere to go, she returns to her unspecified Middle-American childhood small town to move into her parents' empty home. While lugging home a heavy sack, she encounters Jason Sudeikis, a childhood schoolmate. Giving her a ride they end up at his bar, which he inherited from his father, and she immediately falls in with Sudeikis' drinking biddies (Tim Blake Nelson and Austin Stowell), hanging out boozing until dawn, leaving and walking home with her bundle. Waking up in the afternoon, she learns that a monster has appeared in Seoul.

After a repeat appearance the next night, she immediately realizes her connection to it and somehow figures out that it happens when she crosses a playground. She reveals this to her new friends and attempts to make amends to the people their by writing an apology in the sand, but then its revealed that when Sudeikis enters the playground a giant robot appears in Seoul, doubling the terror for them and the complications back here.

This is where Colossal takes the turn that the ads and reviews hide. Sudeikis' nice guy character - he give her a TV and furniture for her house - veers into Evil Controlling Sociopath territory as he becomes jealous of her hots for the hunky, shy Stowell. (Why she's after him isn't really spelled out. He's a bland, handsome blank.) When her ex from NYC comes to town, ostensibly for a coincidental business meeting, the theme of "evil men consumed by toxic masculinity and need to control and oppress women" really blares forth, culminating in (SPOILER ALERT!) Sudeikis' threat that if she leaves he will go back to the the playground every morning and have his giant robot avatar wreak havoc on the other side of the world. Wotta swell fella.

The problem with this turn of the story is that it's not earned. Yummy wasn't his high school girlfriend, though he obviously has harbored a crush on her and has Googled her up. (Who hasn't looked up an ex or ten online just because?) They had no relationship, so his violent reaction to what she does just comes off as extreme. Sudeikis, who has made a name as the bland sorta straight guy in comedies like Horrible Bosses and We're The Millers, is quite chilling in his dark turn; he's just let down by a poorly-motivated script which really faceplants in their final confrontation despite its obvious attempt at crown-pleasing.

Yummy is also quite good, making her drunken wreck somehow appealing and winsome, though clearly troubled by the mayhem and death she has accidentally caused, at least until the script forgets about all that and goes off on the He-Man Woman-Hating Club stuff.

My girlfriend didn't know about the twist and didn't like it, feeling it should've been a straight-up comedy as advertised, though she agreed that if they'd more properly sold the rationale for Sudeikis' anger and possessiveness towards Yummy, it may've worked better. (Off the top of my head, how about Yummy being a former high school mean girl who was cruel to Sudeikis because his dad "just owned a bar" and he's always wanted to pay her back for her snobby cruelty now that she's the needy one? Not saying this is awesome, but it's better than what's there.)

Score: 5/10. Catch it on cable.


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