About half of the viewers in the hall of our local cinematheque who came to watch this film were hardcore fans who came to watch the first screening of this film prior to the opening of a science fiction event that also includes a film festival. I did not have a chance to discuss with them the film at the end, one of the reasons being that some of them left before the end of the screening. I cannot be sure about the reasons, they may have seen the movie already, or they reserved the pleasure of full viewing for the festival, or maybe they just had the same feeling as I did. It’s a crazy and fun idea, but not enough for a full and watchable movie.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4231486/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4231486/

 

Maybe part of the explanation is that , the author of ‘This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy‘ seems to be – according to the IMDB – a first-timer in everything: script writing, acting, film direction, producing movies. Nicholson may be aware of his lack of experience, so he tried to turn it into an advantage, even more than this, into a concept. Here is the story (no spoiler, it happens in the first five minutes). Three fans attend the screening of a movie at a sci-fi convention, and somehow find themselves trapped into the world of the low cost films of the genre. Not only their universe is blurred, but also their personalities, and they will need to fight to survive and get back. Luckily, this is the less credible alternate universe ever created in movies, as all effects and gadgets are more visible than in the first movies of Melies, and more ridiculous than in the worst King Kong film. Space ships are made of hair-drying fans, transporting devices of shower heads, etc.

 

(video source Movieclips Film Festivals & Indie Films)

 

A good idea does not make a film, as original and as crazy it may be, and ‘This Giant Papier-Mâché Boulder Is Actually Really Heavy‘ is a good illustration on this respect. What may have worked in the 1960s TV shows for kids that lasted 15 or 30 minutes at most cannot work for a 90 minutes film, if it is not complemented by well defined characters, fresh jokes, good acting. Unfortunately these are all but absent in this film, and after we understand the concept and have fun for a few minutes we start waiting in vain for something new and interesting to happen. None of these happen here, and the parody is reduced at its own parody with very little comic effect. By the end this comedy was closer to put me to sleep than make me laugh.