Gulliver’s Travels
 
            Jack Black assumes his customary role as lovable loser, but this time with a CGI twist:  he gets to be a giant among Lilliputians.
            Lemuel Gulliver (Black) has been working in the mail room for 10 years.  He likes playing guitar hero, sometimes on company time.  He has a crush on the travel-writing employee, Darcy (Amanda Peet), but he’s too shy to tell her.  When his new buddy in the mail room challenges him to actually ask her out, he winds up, instead, volunteering for a travel writing assignment, so, unaware of his palpitations, she gives him the one nobody else wants:  The Bermuda Triangle.
            Stuck in his own deceptions, Gulliver finds himself by himself on a slow boat to nowhere.  Then The Perfect Storm happens (an upside-down whirlpool?), and Jack wakes up like the giant in the classic “Gulliver’s Travels”:  tied up with a hundred tiny ropes by a thousand tiny people. 
            While in the Lilliputian jail, Gulliver meets Horatio (Jason Segel), who’s incarcerated for being a commoner and trying to court the princess (Emily Blunt).  Gulliver thinks that kind of harsh, but they quickly have other problems:  a fire breaks out in the castle, followed by the alarm sounding that they are suddenly besieged by the enemy.  Gulliver saves his friend, and, in the process, the whole tiny kingdom, and they are so grateful to him that they make for him a comfortable mansion of his own, and he happily introduces them all to American pop culture as if it’s his own story (and in a communal way, it is).  Soon they are happily clashing light sabers and boo-hoo-ing over the sinking of “The Titanic,” and beginning to wonder why Gulliver the Valiant isn’t all that interested in trying to get back home.
            Meanwhile, Gulliver is challenged by the general he ousted as head of security for the little kingdom, and runs from the encounter, finding himself once again captured, but this time he is the midget in a kingdom of giants, and is unhappily the pet dress-up doll of an unsmiling girl who threatens him if he doesn’t play along.  Then Darcy makes an appearance in Lilliput,, having fallen into the same time-and-place warp as he did, and Horatio finds Gulliver to ask him to come save his fair maiden, and the kingdom, besides.
            Can our slacker hero finally win the affection of the girl he loves?  Will his noble friend do the same?  Do we really want to see Jack Black perform a music video with a cast of thousands of midgets?  Well, maybe we do.  This one is light-hearted, fun, and, except for the obligatory bathroom humor, remarkably devoid of anything remotely objectionable.  Sure, it’s Mr. Black’s valentine to himself, and hardly resembles the biting satire of Jonathan Swift’s original 18th-century diatribe against religious prejudice, and wry social commentary on governmental pomposity.  Wait, maybe there’s more resemblance than we think.
 
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Pastor, Grace Presbyterian Church, Greenville , Texas