Gulliver’s Travels (2010)

An out and out loser, Lemuel Gulliver has spent the last umpteen years working in a New York City newspaper’s mail room. As his latest employee quickly become his newest employer, Gulliver finally decides to man up and admit his years long crush to the paper’s travel editor, Darcy. Failing miserably and instead fraudulently landing himself a travel assignment to the Bermuda Triangle, Gulliver soon finds himself alone at sea. Whirlpooled into Jonathan Swift’s literary classic, the nobody lies himself into a somebody when he is adopted by the minitature town of Lilliput. Repeating the same mistakes with all the inevitability of a Jack Black karaoke-thon, Gulliver is slowly (oh so slowly) brought the the realisation that he is a giantnormous douche and his own worst enemy. And there are more pop-culture references than you can shake a Shrek at.


With six hours to kill (don’t ask), I decided to massacre two of them in the most unforgivable way possible. That’s right folks, I watched Gulliver’s Travels.

Once again presenting an unsympathetic manchild who goes to superhuman lengths to sabotage his own adulthood, Gulliver’s Travels is yet another attempt by Hollywood to cash in on Jack Black’s taste-defying popularity, soiling another great work of literature in the process. Paving over Swift’s satire and thematics with a combination of Coca-Cola and karaoke, Gulliver’s Travels simplifies the story to the point in which chavs, babies and your popcorn itself might understand what is going on. The relatively simple Lilliputians are reliably British while the (there are not enough quotation marks in the world) “heroic” Gulliver is embarrassingly American – he doesn’t drink coffee, he drinks Joe. No creative license spared there then.

The mock indignation worn by a phone-selling Jack Black in the inescapable Orange advert, which overstayed its welcome in cinemas by an ocean-full of Wednesdays, is hypocrisy at its most hypocratic. Taking a break from Rockband only to swig Coke and check his iPhone, Black’s heart is in this movie less than Apple’s assorted products. As he spoofs innumerable movie posters (from “Gavatar” to *guffaw* “Gulliver’s Origins”) and prances around to distracting power ballads, dignity takes a back seat to gags that not even Keenan Ivory Wayans would touch. If even Jack Black believes this film to be so beneath him, then why should we not too?

Beyond the tired characterisation (Jack Black is an crass buffoon with all the social maturity of a whoopie cushion, the empathy is supposed to kick in when exactly?), lazy jokes (even IMDb only chalks one ‘Memorable Line’) and truly disastrous special effects, Gulliver’s Travels’ biggest problem is its supporting cast – they dare to be charming. That’s right, although struggling with material  written by a certifiable oddity of evolution, the smaller (come on!) characters somehow act their way out of total embarrassment. Billy Connolly is a riot, Catherine Tate positively usurps the background and Emily Blunt charms her way out of even The Wolfman’s craterous shadow. The biggest problem, for Gulliver at least, is that Chris O’Down is just so damn likeable – until his moronic transformation into a Transforminator that is. Sharing the audience’s own frustrations from the get-go, it’s a pity he didn’t cast Gulliver off to Brobdingnag sooner.

Lazy, juvenile and overwhelmingly tedious, Gulliver’s Travels are a neverending smorgasbord of unfunny jokes, uninspired pop-culture references and unwitting direction. That anyone escapes this unscathed is miraculous, that they did so with such verve defies belief.

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About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

One Response to Gulliver’s Travels (2010)

  1. Pingback: February 2011 – Do you know the “f” word? « popcornaddict

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