By William Wolf

BIG FISH  Send This Review to a Friend

Director Tim Burton's "Big Fish" is a big bore, and so is Albert Finney this time around, playing the dying old man Edward Bloom, who can't open his mouth without telling tall stories, most of which may be concoctions, a few of which may have some element of truth. The twist in the screenplay, written by John August from the novel by Daniel Wallace, is that there are different time frames. Ewan McGregor plays Bloom as a young man, and Billy Crudup is Bloom's son Will, who has issues with his father and tries to see what's real about the dying man.

True to form, Burton manages to instill imagination and production values into spinning the story, which has a fable-like tone. But the film reeks of pretentiousness and gets to test one's patience, as does Finney, who may be meant to be a lovable old codger, but becomes a dead weight. There is a mystery woman who turns up in the form of Helena Bonham Carter, who has something of the aura of witchery about her, and nothing about her role makes much sense if you take away the fable element. Jessica Lang has the thankless role of Bloom's wife Sandra, and Alison Lohman plays her when she was young.

The cast also includes Danny DeVito in the unlikely role of a mean-spirited traveling circus owner as well as its ringmaster. Steve Buscemi plays a financial tycoon who started as a bank robber.

True, there are a few amusing moments and even emotional ones here and there, but "Big Fish" wears out its welcome early. A Columbia Pictures release.


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