Big Significant Things feels like the sort of movie Alexander Payne could have directed in his early days. The comedy drama has a similar tone to About Schmidt, covering the cross-country adventures of a young man, who lies to his girlfriend in order to spend some time on the open road alone.
It's one of those wanderlust tales that captures the restless spirit of a stallion about to be tethered. Craig is at a cross roads in his life, possibly unsure of his real feelings towards his girlfriend, wanting some time apart to take stock of the next big chapter. His road trip to visit over-sized tourist attractions seems like a worthy distraction for him, and us, as we journey with him.
The low budget drama has an independent spirit that drives our hero, a confused man who wants to do the right thing. Harry Lloyd plays the naive Craig Harrison, like a nerdier, younger Tom Cruise. He's an attractive and awkward guy, whose vulnerability has been glazed over by a cool stare. He's not so much Harry and Lloyd from Dumb & Dumber, as much as he's a member from the geek love rock band, Weezer.
The film has heart and we're drawn to Craig's quarter-life crisis. It's that clean cut look and affable nature that helps us enjoy his eccentricities and commiserate with his flaws. As a bit of a drifter, Craig's reaching out for intimacy from strangers, trying not to be in his situation for awhile. It's a melancholic state of affairs as on-the-road freedom, euphoria and spontaneity come crashing back to reality.
While British, Lloyd feels like homegrown Americana. His casting must have helped him feel more at home with the character as a traveler from a distant land. He's supported by Krista Kosonen, who helps stir things up as an intriguing romantic interest. Yet this is Craig's story, allowing Lloyd to dominate almost every scene.
Big Significant Things is a spirited comedy drama and feature film debut from writer-director Bryan Reisberg that captures getting lost on purpose with awkward sentimentality. The story's meandering and nostalgia-orientated path has some hooks in The Way, Way Back and About Schmidt. We relish the blend of real characters in a little big story about clearing the heart and the mind.
The bottom line: Melancholic