Big Fish

Rated 2.0 Dying old Edward Bloom (Albert Finney) spins tall tales about his adventurous past (with Ewan McGregor playing Edward in flashbacks). Meanwhile, his exasperated son (Billy Crudup) tries to pin down the truth while there’s time to get it straight. Written by John August (from Daniel Wallace’s novel) and photographed in gooey maraschino colors by Philippe Rousselot, the film is spiced by director Tim Burton’s mordant whimsy. There are memorable moments—three boys see their deaths predicted in a witch’s glass eye, and Edward encounters a werewolf—but they don’t add up; it’s just a mushy shaggy-dog story about “loving the old man.” For all the story’s twists, there are no real surprises (the ending is obvious 10 minutes in), and Burton’s flourishes of self-satisfied frippery annoy as much as they amuse.