The Giant Mechanical Man (2012) – Something something indie something

Synopsis: An offbeat romantic comedy about a silver-painted street performer (Chris Messina) and the soft spoken zoo worker (Jenna Fischer) who falls for him.

My Take

The Giant Mechanical Man: sad, lonely, street performer whose act of dressing up as big silver dude and standing really really still to epitomise the philosophy that we all living in a sense of desperate mass lost wandering, falls in love with equally sad, lonely, who loves silent movies, hates phonies and just wants to be herself. Oh and they meet whilst both working at a zoo…..

This movie is so indie it hurts. It’s so indie that it is one step away from being presented in a special edition pair of skinny jeans and retro-ironic-or-maybe-not-ironic 80’s hair metal band t-shirt.

Just. So. Indie.

It’s also sweet. If instantly forgettable.


Directed by Lee Kirk, and starring his wife Jenna Fischer (Pam from the The Office) and Chris Messina (The Newsroom, Argo) The Giant Mechanical Man is a love story about two people who don’t quite fit into the world and struggle to find love or steady work as a result.

Fischer plays Janice who just can’t hold down a job, loses her apartment and is forced to move in with her well meaning if total bitch of a sister. In a bid to try and get her life kick started her sister tries to set her up with an awful, cheeseball self help author, Doug (Topher Grace). He’s like the bastard love child of 1980’s David Copperfield and Dr Phil.

Messina plays Tim, a  struggling “artist”, The Giant Mechanical Man, who is forced to compromise his artistic principles to become a janitor at the zoo because his girlfriend leaves him and destroys his confidence. Janice also gets a job at the zoo and they bond over monkey faeces and penguins. All the while Janice doesn’t realise Tim is The Giant Mechanical Man, who, she sees around and has kind of annoying one sided conversations with.

The problem is everyone in this movie is either smug; a dick; a smug dick; annoying beyond reproach; forgettable; or, in Fischer’s case, unbelievable.

The film wants you to root for the main characters but it’s difficult when one of them is kind of unlikable for over 50% of the movie and the other is underdeveloped. It’s obvious why Tim is struggling; he’s an artist. But he is just hideously smug about being the only one who sees that we are all living for the Man, man. But I couldn’t understand why Fischer was struggling. She is supposed to be incapable of holding down a job, the reason given being people don’t like her. Problem being is she is adorable and smart. There is no reason for her being so up against it. I just never believed her plight.

All that said, there was some genuine chemistry between Fischer and Messina when they were on screen together. You always know where it is going before it goes there and hits every cliche without missing a beat. But it made me smile on more than one occasion  And this being an indie flick the soundtrack kicked ass- Any movie that opens with Mogwai instantly gets at least two stars.

Conclusion: Sweet but forgettable.

Verdict: 6/10


Director/Writer: Lee Kirk – Mr Jenna Fischer. All about the indie.

Cast: Jenna Fischer, Chris Messina, Topher Grace, Malin Akerman, Rich Sommer, Lucy Punch, Bob Odenkirk


  • No trivia

Currently streaming on Netflix US and on DVD/BluRay


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