Big Fish

A young man (Billy Crudup) comes to terms with his dying, self-mythologizing father (Albert Finney) in this fantasy directed by Tim Burton (Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!) from a script by John August based on Daniel Wallace’s novel. The illustrations of the old man’s tall tales would seem tailor-made for Burton, a magical realist par excellence, but there’s not much substance underlying the whimsy. The Alabama setting is as phony as the one in Forrest Gump, and for all of Finney’s effectiveness as a yarn-spinning geezer, his whoppers seem disconnected from his character and each othera weakness Burton fails to resolve with an awkward Felliniesque finale. With Ewan McGregor (as the father’s younger self), Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Danny DeVito, and Steve Buscemi. PG-13, 110 min. (JR)

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