The Story:Lemuel Gulliver is a comic book-reading, Star Wars-loving nerd who works in the mailroom of a large newspaper. He has little ambition, but he does have a major crush on one of his co-workers, Darcy (Amanda Peet) the travel editor. Instead of taking the direct approach and asking her out, he applies for a writing assignment in her department. Despite the fact he has no writing skills - he passes off the work of other writers as his own - Gulliver impresses Darcy so much so that she doesn't check on his writing background and only belated figures out he ripped off online sources. Quicker than you can say Lilliputian, she promotes him out of his mailroom job and into the position of a travel writer who gets to go off on an all-expenses paid trip to investigate the Bermuda Triangle. Gulliver had really only wanted to talk to Darcy, and count on getting a job that would immediately send him out to sea in a boat with just his lonesome self, some comics, and his cell phone to keep him company.
The leader of the Lilliputian army, Edward (Chris O'Dowd), is a pompous little sucker who calls Gulliver a Beast and brands him an enemy of the country. Locked in jail, Gulliver makes friends with a fellow prisoner named Horatio (Jason Segel wrapping his tongue around a British accent fairly effectively) whose only crime is falling in love with Princess Mary (Emily Blunt) who is betrothed to Edward. Forced into hard labor, Gulliver's unable to convince the Lilliputians that he's not out to conquer their land until he does what no one else in Lilliput can do - he uses his full bladder to put out a fire raging in the castle thereby saving the King (Billy Connolly).
The Acting and the Bottom LineJack Black's not stretching at all to play this traveler in a strange little world as he delivers a performance similar to what he's shown us in all of his recent films. It's Black doing what's become the familiar Jack Black shtick, and it looks and feels like he's just going through the motions at this point. Amanda Peet is poorly served as a travel editor easily duped and who, for no apparent reason, falls for this plagiarizing slacker. Billy Connolly, Emily Blunt and Jason Segel are also given absolutely nothing to work with here, and flounder in characters which must have looked better on paper than how they translated to the screen. The only actor who manages to escape semi-unscathed from this disappointing effort is Chris O'Dowd, the villain of the piece and the only character who actually has anything funny to say or do in the whole film.
Even though it has a very short running time, Gulliver's Travels runs out of steam shortly after Gulliver arrives in Lilliput. That probably accounts for why there was a love story inserted between Segel as Horatio and Blunt as Princess Mary, two actors who unfortunately have zero chemistry together onscreen.
This Gulliver's Travels is Swift dumbed down to the point the original material's all but lost. Full of easy pop culture references and littered with obnoxious product placements, 2010's Gulliver's Travels is a big mess with little lasting appeal.
Gulliver's Travels was directed by Rob Letterman and is rated PG for brief rude humor, mild language and action.
Theatrical Release Date: December 25, 2010