6 March 2005 | bppihl
A terrific comedy/fantasy and great early role for Tom Hanks
Tom Hanks earned his first Oscar nomination in the late 1980s with the Penny Marshall comedy/fantasy "Big." I saw it for the first time when I was about 9, and have loved it ever since. I like how it is aimed at both the kid and adult in all of us!
Young Josh Baskin (David Moscow) goes with his family to a carnival one evening, and sees the girl of his dreams. When he finally works up the nerve to talk to her, her date appears with her. Then, he does not meet the height requirement for the roller coaster ride he wants to go on. So, off he goes to a deserted part of the carnival to the "Zoltar" machine, a devil's head encased in glass, to "make his wish." He wishes he "were big." Suffice it to say, Josh wakes up the next morning to discover he is an adult (Tom Hanks). Mom (Mercedes Ruehl) thinks he kidnapped her son, and calls the police. Josh eventually convinces best friend Billy (Jared Rushton) that he (Josh) is his true 13-year-old self trapped in a man's body. They take off to New York, where Josh manages to get a job as a product tester for a large toy company. He befriends the boss (Robert Loggia), who likes Josh's understanding of the toys kids really like. However, Josh finds himself at odds with Paul (John Heard), vice president of marketing, who perceives Josh's simplistic views as an invasion of Paul's more experienced, competitive ways. Never fear, as successful co-worker Susan Lawerence (Elizabeth Perkins) finds comfort in Josh's views and company, and falls in love with him. But the more Josh experiences the privileges and responsibilities of adulthood, the more he longs for his youth again. Should he stay with Susan or find the Zoltar machine and wish to be a kid again?
An impressive film about growing up and making wishes. When you're a kid, you can't wait to grow up. But when you're an adult, you have to make sacrifices and accept responsibility, ideal and not-so-ideal. Also, be careful what you wish for, as you might get it! A Broadway musical version of "Big" opened in the mid-1990s. The piano dancing sequence is its trademark. I had the privilege to play the role of Paul (the John Heard character) in a summer musical production, and loved it! I highly recommend both the film and the musical!