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Larger Than Life Review

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A motivational speaker discovers that the inheritance his father left him is in the form of an elephant.

★★★★★

The old "never work with children or animals" adage strikes again, with this clunky man-meets-elephant comedy which died a swift death in the States on its suspiciously quiet autumn release. Though it tries so hard to please, the fact that it proves a sad waste of all the talents involved lands it firmly on the wrong side of likeable.

Murray is Jack Corcoran, a smooth-talking salesman who discovers that his father has popped his clogs and left him a sizeable inheritance - in the shape of a four-ton circus elephant named Vera. After this nicely off-kilter beginning, the film shifts uneasily into road movie territory, as Corcoran is torn between selling the animal either to crooked circus trainer or animal doc Mo (Garofalo), who is sending a shipment of elephants to Sri Lanka as part of a breeding experiment.

There is the kernel of a good idea here, but the odd smile-raising one-liner aside, it is buried under a mound of yawnsomely obvious gags pertaining to large, grey pachyderms flattening washing-lines, hoovering up vast quantities of food and annoying humans (mainly McConaughey's vaguely psychotic hick).

Murray tries to imbue the action with his customary comedic dryness, but mostly just looks embarrassed, while Garofalo, providing the film's sole bright spot as the sassy vet, is woefully underused and McConaughey is blessed with such monumental face fuzz that he remains unrecognisable until the closing credits.

Hopefully, this is one that even the elephant will manage to forget.