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Big (1988)

Have you ever had a really big secret?

Directed by:

Penny Marshall

Rating: 9/10

Running Time: 104 minutes

UK Certificate: PG

On DVD

Country: United States

Tom Hanks has appeared in some cracking films in his time, but this, perhaps surprisingly, is as good as any of them. Anyone who can make it through an entire viewing of this movie without smiling – nay, grinning – was probably never a child. And that, in itself, is a little weird.

When 13-year-old Josh Baskin (David Moscow) wishes that he was ‘big’, little does he know that his wish is about to come true. He wakes up the next morning trapped in the 30-something body of Hanks and, when his mum chucks a wobbler at this unrecognisable man standing in her front room, flees to New York City in desperation.

Thankfully, bezzie mate Billy (Jared Rushton) is on hand to help him track down the mystical fairground slot-machine responsible for granting the wish in the first place. Meantime, Josh finds himself a job with a toy company, where his childish ways make something of an impression on both his boss MacMillan (Robert Loggia) and ambitious workmate Susan (Elizabeth Perkins).

This is a fantastic film from way back when Hanks’ name alone wasn’t all a movie needed to pull in the big bucks. His obvious talent shines through, arguably just as much as it does in the more highly-acclaimed ‘Philadelphia’ or ‘Forrest Gump’. Few actors of the era could have pulled off the sheer innocence of the role without coming across as either sickly-sweet or just plain unbelievable.

The supporting cast also does a terrific job, with Perkins swinging convincingly from hard-necked to vulnerable, Loggia perfectly suited to the toy mogul role, and Paul Heard on wicked form as a super-jealous executive-type. Keep an eye out too for Jon Lovitz, looking comfortably at home in a small role as the office creep.

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It's Got: A fantastic scene with Hanks and Loggia playing a giant piano.

It Needs: To be watched by the whole family – there’s nothing in here that can’t be appreciated by all ages.

DVD Extras Rumour has it an alternate ending was made which saw Elizabeth join Josh in returning to childhood. It would have been nice to have had that included on the DVD. But it’s not. There’s just a trailer. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Freaky Friday, The Kid, Vice-Versa

Summary

Classic Hanks. Nuff said.

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