Few people have probably heard about Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig’s science fiction comedy Downsizing at this point, making it something of a box office risk. The movie is being co-written and directed by by Alexander Payne (Election, Nebraska), bringing his own brand of social satire to a story about a couple that decides to shrink themselves, in order to save money. Joining Damon and Wiig in the film are comedy buffs Neil Patrick Harris, Alec Baldwin, and Jason Sudeikis, as well as Oscar-winner (and frequent villain actor), Christoph Waltz.
Downsizing isn’t scheduled to hit theaters until near the end of this year, but Paramount Pictures has decided to go ahead and start building hype for the film now. The first footage from Downsizing was shown during Paramount’s panel at CinemaCon 2017 – and so far, the reactions to what was shown appear to be all-but universally positive.
The Wrap has posted a full description of the footage, which described Downsizing as a Payne-like version of Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. In the clip, the married couple played by Damon and Wiig attend a presentation about the potential benefits of shrinking themselves:
The pitch is made by Neil Patrick Harris’ character, who has already shrunk himself and now lives in a stunning home, bigger than he could’ve ever dreamed of in the real-size world. His wife, played by Laura Dern, just went on a shopping spree and bought a diamond necklace and matching earrings, for — whoa — $83, which, he says, is their food budget for two whole months!
Pairing Downsizing‘s sci-fi concept with the human concern of saving money, seems to be one of several ways Payne is attempting to ground the film’s premise with his understated storytelling. Also known for his work on The Descendants and About Schmidt, in which he explored ideas of generational responsibility, Payne is said to be exploring questions about our carbon footprint, our needs over a lifetime, and what we find important as people in Downsizing. The audience reportedly “erupted in laughter” at points during the clip and cheered when the CinemaCon footage concluded.
It certainly sounds as though Payne’s script and direction are leading Downsizing‘s excellent cast towards what could be a successful film, on multiple fronts. None of the cast are strangers to comedy, with Damon’s recent turn as stranded astronaut Mark Watney in The Martian making for one of his more moving and funny performances in recent memory. Paramount is planning to release Downsizing in time for awards season consideration, but it’s far too soon to determine if this film is a surefire Oscar contender or not. Still, there’s something absurdly clever about the Payne-led project that could make it much more than an amusing riff on a familiar concept.
Source: The Wrap