‘Big Gold Brick’ Review: Sad Sack Makes Good

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Samuel, a nice failed writer and slob, turns his life around one day by stepping in front of a car in “Big Gold Brick.” But success — a best-selling memoir — doesn’t happen overnight. First the wealthy driver, Floyd (Andy Garcia), takes in Samuel (Emory Cohen) as his in-house biographer, and a movie’s worth of mostly domestic misadventures follow that are shaggy and dull.

Addled from the collision, Samuel bumbles his way around Floyd’s family: a coldly flirtatious wife (Megan Fox) who might as well be introduced with the “Oh Yeah” song, a sweet grown daughter (Lucy Hale) devoid of personality, and a sociopathic son, Eddie (Leonidas Castrounis). Garcia’s Floyd, who claims to have a secret past, ambles through a two-hour-plus movie that nearly forgets to give this crew any story to speak of.

The writer-director, Brian Petsos, misses the timing or verve shown in his short films, which have been a lovely outlet for freak-outs by Oscar Isaac. The star goofs off in a brief turn as a nefarious tycoon, hidden behind half-opaque glasses, a fey warble and a riot of facial hair. This and other touches keep suggesting half-remembered bits and bobs from indie crime capers and sketch shows of the late 1990s and early 2000s.

While it’s not clear whether anyone could, Cohen doesn’t carry this movie, but he does wear an amusingly aerodynamic ponytail during the glimpses of Samuel’s future book tour. The title of this perfectly well-appointed production is apt: “Big Gold Brick” looks all right but it truly just sits there.

Big Gold Brick
Not rated. Running time: 2 hours 12 minutes. In theaters and available to rent or buy on Apple TV, Google Play and other streaming platforms and pay TV operators.


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