Matt Damon’s latest sci-fi satire about scientists who find a way to shrink humans down in order to save the planet by cutting down on waste is one colossal failure. The first half of the film starts off exactly how one would imagine. Damon who plays Paul, a occupational therapist that never feels like he truly lived up to his own potential. So he and his wife, played by Kristen Wiig decide to “get small” financially it makes sense and it helps the environment. Everything goes downhill for Paul when he awakens from his transformation only to find out that his wife backed out and now he is stuck irreversibly small, all alone, and pissed off.
It is at this point that the story turns around, taking a screenplay that has some interesting insights and a nice comedic tone, and completely rip that idea to shreds. It feels like nobody had any idea what they wanted this story to be about. They start off with Paul trying to re-enter the dating scene, first meeting a very boring woman who he clearly is not into. Then he meets his neighbor who throws massive parties and Paul briefly gets to experience this life. This I would have been okay with, not as charming as the first half of the film but still good enough to lean on for the rest of the film.
The problem really begins when Paul meets Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau) a illegal, vietnamese immigrant, who was shrunken down against her will. The movie then completely switches what it began with and simply tries to shove a meaningful message down the viewers throat that just does not flow with narrative at all. Basically saying that even if we shrink down the problems of big people will follow you wherever you go because after all we are all still human.
Director Alexander Payne could have found a way to keep this movie as a fun satire while leaving a feel good message, but instead the second half becomes so one-sided, and predictable that it loses the viewers interest, and dumps on all of its possible successes.