I think that Downsizing is movie with too many parts. At first glance I thought it was going to be a fluffy light holiday comedy but instead it was kind of serious with overpopulation, how to silence dissenting voices, working while broke, the disappearing middle class and segregation (that was by accident). This movie would have been SOO good if they had focused on Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) who’s a Vietnamese descendent shrunken by the government for speaking against power. Really all of the people shrunken not by choice but by force to silence them and used by the ‘residents’ as cheap labor but still looked down upon. In case you wonder how people got shrunk for ‘free’ to be slave labor they are political prisoners from countries the export goods made by cheap labor. This was a story given short shrift in the film but that I found fascinating since it’s a mini area why didn’t they make them decent livable low rent housing? Do the communities not have to keep building up to code? This inquiring mind really wanted that answer if they wanted this to be a ‘serious film’ about over population and destroying the earth. If they didn’t want to expand on the people downsized against their will treated as sharecroppers and instead wanted to be funny. Could we not spend more time with Dusan Mircovic (Christoph Waltz) and Konrad (Udo Kier) who stole every scene they were in as shady eastern European importers of luxury deals. When Konrad casually slipped that he had a title but his ex-wife had the money but he still kept his boat it was a hoot. Or that Dusan was living the life as downsized while his wife was still big with a joyful smirk. They were a delight and I did not realize how funny Christoph was but really wanted to see more of him. I’m not saying Downsize is bad it just wasn’t able to balance the humor and ‘afterschool’ serious subject matter as well as it could have. It’s one of those films that could have been lots of fun and thought provoking but made bad casting choices and the decision to focus on the most boring character made the movie lose steam. If only they could release the movie with Paul’s head exploding so that we could enjoy the supporting cast and explore this Lilliputian world without Gulliver.
I’m not sure why they advertised Kristen Wiig as the co-star when she’s barely in the movie! Also what a lost opportunity for major comedy to explain why she left! She changed her mind halfway through the shaving? So were women awake during the process but manbabys can’t handle it so they are knocked out? Wouldn’t have been more interesting if she was getting undressed with other women in the floor when all of a sudden a loud popping/bomb noise than flashing emergency lights, voice over the intercom code red and a crash cart rushes past the door. All the women waiting look at each other than Audrey (Kristen Wiig) looks at a black woman who slowly reaches for her bag before they exchange a ‘I’m getting the freck out of here’ look as they both grab their bags and run out like bats out of hell. It would have taken a few minutes but so visually funny for 4 or 5 women run out past the lobby in various states of undress!
Now can we talk about Paul (Matt Damon) the white everyman Hollywood always wants to shove down our throats???? He’s a wasted space who in every scene sticks out like a sore thumb. He isn’t able to be the right kind of funny for the role and well his character was an annoying weak mess. Paul literally took the wonder and fun out of every scene he’s in and he’s in EVERY DAMN scene! He’s a lazy Betsy whine that could totally have easily gotten recertified for a better job but is to wishy washy to do anything but resent other people’s upscale lifestyle. He’s the ‘I’m a nice guy’ now fall on my dick that every woman refuses to deal with IRL but knows cause they are ALWAYS hanging around waiting for a moment of weakness or drunk regret to finally get the woman they say is a ‘friend’ but really thinks they’ve been ‘friendzoned’ cause they are sooo nice. No your damned creepy and we know what you want but hope you go away. In downsizing he NEVER goes away instead finds a new woman to tell him what to do since he’s a blank boring bland canvas.
Downsizing imagines what might happen if, as a solution to over-population, Norwegian scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall and propose a 200-year global transition from big to small. People soon realize how much further money goes in a miniaturized world, and with the promise of a better life, everyman Paul Safranek (Matt Damon) and wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in Omaha in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.