Directed by Penny Marshall
Written by Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg
Starring: Tom Hanks, Elizabeth Perkins, Jared Rushton, Robert Loggia, John Heard, David Moscow
Josh Baskins (Moscow) is sick of being young. More importantly, he’s sick of being small. So when he stumbles across a strange fortune-telling machine called Zoltar at a carnival, he makes a wish that will change everything. When he wakes up the next morning, Josh (Hanks) is big, not just big but a grown man. Now he’s forced to leave his home in search of ways to handle this sudden transformation. Alongside his best friend (Rushton), Josh begins to explore the good and the bad sides to being an adult.
This movie is the creation of director Penny Marshall (A League of Their Own). She took the screenplay by Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) and Anne Spielberg (Captive) and turned it into a classic that is still enjoyable today. The film was another big leap forward for the career of Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips) who headlines the great cast. In addition to Hanks, the film stars Elizabeth Perkins (Must Love Dogs), Robert Loggia (An Officer and a Gentleman), John Heard (Home Alone), and Jared Rushton (Overboard). David Moscow (Newsies) was also a great choice to play the young Josh.
This is a wonderful story that captures the frustration of youth and the desire to grow up quickly. In the same story, the writers also managed to encapsulate the sense of loss that comes from realizing that your youth is behind you. These two themes come together nicely, making this much more than a fantasy-comedy film. The dialogue in the movie is great as well, allowing Hanks to pull off lines that work for him despite sounding like something a 12-year old boy might say. Overall, the film managed to create relationships between Josh and the other characters that work with his real age while accepting his adult appearance.
The acting brings this incredible story to life without losing anything along the way. Tom Hanks was the perfect choice for this film. His youthful appearance and energetic performance really keep the idea that he’s a 12-year old alive. The chemistry between him and Elizabeth Perkins is also great. Despite the increasingly adult nature of their relationship, there’s little doubt about the age difference between them. Hanks also has great chemistry with his younger co-star, Jared Rushton. The two of them create a very realistic version of 12-year old best friends. David Moscow also works nicely with Rushton, keeping the friendship consistent. Robert Loggia and John Heard round out a cast that also includes a number of other great actors.
This is one of my favorite movies. I related to the story as a child, and I continue to find things to relate to as an adult. The film was both critically and commercially successful. Tom Hanks earned his first Oscar nomination for his wonderful performance. The film also earned an Oscar nomination for Gary Ross and Anne Spielberg for Best Original Screenplay. If you’re a fan of Tom Hanks, or anyone in the cast for that matter, this is one worth checking out. I would also suggest this to fans of movies like 13 going on 30 or Freaky Friday. This is a movie the whole family can enjoy. I give this one 4.5 out of 5 stars.