Relying mostly on the fantastical element’s of Daniel Wallace’s Big Fish, A Story of Mythic Proportions, the film is a jumble of magical-realism vignettes held together by a thin thread involving the efforts of the estranged grown child of a dying man coming home in a last ditch effort finally to get to know his father. Instead, he finds himself still kept at bay by the man’s inability to communicate through any other means than grandiose fish tales.
Granted, while the Norman Rockwellian fables (involving the big fish, a giant, a witch, Siamese twins and a werewolf, among other funky trials) are amusing and even lovely to watch at times, none of the characters involved ever open themselves up enough to offer any more depth than the old raconteur’s seeming exaggerations.
As the adventurous Edward Bloom (get it?), Ewan McGregor is physically well cast as the younger version of Albert Finney but offers up nothing more than a hayseed riff on his character in Moulin Rouge. While consistently entertaining, Big Fish ultimately mirrors its protagonist by being superficial and long-winded and wearing out its welcome toward the cornball ending.