Gulliver’s Travels

Lemuel Gulliver (Jack Black) has spent a decade stuck in the mailroom of a New York City newspaper before blundering and plagiarizing his way into a travel-writing assignment that lands him, en route to the Bermuda Triangle, in Lilliput.

Black is playing a “Gulliver,” but while sharing disproportionate size with Jonathan Swift’s protagonist, he has more in common with Mark Twain’s Connecticut Yankee, an Ugly American who eventually wins the awe of the ancient, rigidly class-conscious culture he crashes by pissing all over it — in one instance, quite literally.

Having gained the awe of Lilliput’s little people, Gulliver infects the island with imported trash culture, embellishing his legend by stitching together a life story from Hollywood blockbusters and turning the Lilliputian capitol into Times Square — or Piccadilly, for this Anglo-American coproduction often reads as a farce of disillusionment and rapprochement in trans-Atlantic relations.

Black, looking like an unwashed clothes pile and capering in familiar “Uncle Jack” style, is a good baby sitter, his cross-dressing turn in a doll’s house a highlight.

Categories: Movies