I’ve been suspicious for some time, but now it’s official: I am tired of Jack Black’s overaged rocker shtick. Sorry, Jethro, but you can be too old to be a rock ’n’ roll doofus, and Black is. In “Gulliver’s Travels,” he brings that character to Jonathan Swift’s 1726 scathing satire, and the result makes little sense.
Swift’s Gulliver was a surgeon, not a hipster boob from the mail room. In the film, Gulliver tries to impress the woman he loves (Amanda Peet, “2012”), a magazine editor, by lying to her. Rom-com City, here we come.
Thinking that he has the talent and experience to be a travel writer, she gives him an assignment that will take him to the Bermuda Triangle, and he washes up on the shores of Lilliput, where he towers over the citizenry. He then lies to them, too, so they think he is king of his native land.
Emily Blunt (“The Wolfman”) co-stars as the princess Gulliver befriends, Chris O’Dowd (“Dinner for Schmucks”) is the untrustworthy Lilliputian general in love with her, and Jason Segel (“Despicable Me”) is the commoner who also loves her, making a Bermuda love triangle.
I tired of the anachronistic humor PDQ, and the movie ends with a Bollywood-esque production number that is as awkward as it is inane. As is usual with adaptations of this novel, all sense of Swift’s outrage at human cupidity is lost.
The movie is not a disappointment because, honestly, given Black’s recent track record (“Year One”), who expected it to be good?