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Just who is the monster in 'Colossal' anyway?

Her boyfriend is fed up.

It's nothing new for her to stay out all night. Or to drink so much that she's still drunk when she does finally amble home to his apartment. Or to remember so little from her alcohol blackouts that she can't really remember whom she'd been with. It has happened so often, unfortunately, that he's not going to put up with it anymore.

So he packs her bags, tells her to get out and go clean up her act. Then they'll talk.

So she goes home to the heartland, where the home where Mom and Dad brought her up is still vacant. Her parents moved away and hadn't gotten around to renting it yet.

Needless to say, none of that could possibly make an indie horror movie "Colossal" which is what this one is called.

No, that's because of the monster in Seoul, Korea who is stomping on buildings and crowds of screaming, terrified people as if he were Godzilla's ego-maniacal Korean brother-in-law.

So what, you might well ask, does that have to do with a young American journalist who has lost her job and gone on a party-down spree which has now lasted a full year? The answer makes "Colossal" into something you might call a screwball horror movie. It's quite loony.

But this is a weirdly rich period for pure, uncut nutso movies at your local theaters, what with the hour-long gunfight in "Free Fire" which unfolds in real time and is fought by a warehouse full of dim bulbs who can neither think or shoot straight.

And then there are the cars that spill out of the upper floors of parking garages into the streets below with the force of an onrushing river in "The Fate of the Furious."

There is never a point, I must confess, where "Colossal" makes a lick of sense, but it all takes itself so seriously that you can, believe me, watch it all with growing admiration for a movie having the courage of its own looniness.

Anne Hathaway plays the woman who drinks way too much and controls her life way too little. She has done that splendidly in the movies before (see, by all means, "Rachel Getting Married"). Jason Sudeikis plays an old childhood friend she meets when she goes back home.

He's running his Dad's old bar now and asks her if she needs a job. He seems, at first, awfully nice--the way an old childhood friend should be. He gives her that job, a new futon and and huge new TV. He shares with her his goofy friends, who are played by Tim Blake Nelson and Dan Stevens.

Everything should be fine. Except that our girl figures out that the monster bearing down on Seoul, Korea has a lot to do with her as she walks through a local playground where where something weird and crazily traumatic happened to her in childhood.

As I said, it's all patent nonsense of the most foolish kind which is exactly what makes the movie's straight-ahead delivery as entertaining as it is.

Hathaway is such a good actress that she almost sells it--especially when she's playing, as she is here, a young woman of slipshod behavior and nocturnal habits.

Sudeikis gets to be the Childhood Nice Guy Who Ain't All That. Expect to see him trash rooms with fire and be photographed with his face ringed in diabolical flames.

A young woman losing her Manhattan life is one kind of problem. Quite another is a young woman discovering that her behavior is influencing  a monster killing people by the hundreds thousands of miles away.

It used to be one of the premises of sketch comedy, as enunciated by Johnny Carson, the king of now primordial TV comedy, that "you buy the premise, you buy the bit." I never came close to buying the premise of "Colossal,"--not even a little. But I was so tickled by a film that actually believed that I might buy it that I stayed with it happily.

The filmmaker is a 40-year-old Spaniard named Nacho Vigalardo who once wrote a movie called "Extra-Terrestrial" in which a young man entering into a new and hugely promising romantic relationship with a young woman is doing so at the exact same time that an extra-terrestrial invasion is happening.

This is clearly a guy who believes that personal problems can go cosmic very quickly.

I just wish that “Colossal” didn’t strike me, sometimes, as a fantasy that might have happened to someone involuntarily while they experienced delirium tremens.



2.5 stars (out of four)

Starring: Anne Hathaway, Jason Sudeikis, Tim Blake Nelson, Dan Stevens and Austin Stowell.

Director: Nacho Vigalondo

Running time: 109 minutes

Rated: R for language

The lowdown: A very messed-up young woman discovers that her alcohol-fueled life has more to do with a giant monster attacking Seoul, Korea than anyone might have guessed.



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