Encountering ‘The Giant Mechanical Man’
Ashley Jo Will
As my canine companions slept while dog-sitting over a previous weekend, I found the alluring title “The Giant Mechanical Man” on Netflix, which was released on video Oct. 9, 2012. This romantic comedy showcases two people who do not have their lives figured out yet. While most of society is hustling and bustling on a consistent schedule, Janice and Tim do not have their future laid out. The audience may find it easy to relate to Janice and Tim because many people, like the main characters of the film, do not know precisely what they want to do with their life and are searching or waiting for fulfillment.
“The Giant Mechanical Man” begins with a man carefully painting his face in order to transform into the movie’s namesake. In addition to makeup, Tim completes his ensemble with stilts, a large coat and a specific hat. Tim then leaves home to begin his act. He is a performing street artist who stays perfectly still until money is given to him prompting Tim to enact robotic movements. Pauline is agitated by her boyfriend’s behavior and she wishes Tim would find a financially successful job rather than becoming the giant mechanical man. Likewise, Tim becomes agitated when he is mingling with Pauline’s co-workers. Wealthy men discuss their extravagant purchases and Tim becomes increasingly disgusted with their excessive materialism. Tim believes they, as well as the majority of society, are mindlessly walking around like robots. The giant mechanical man act provides Tim a chance to use his talent to brighten people’s lives and to assure people that they are not crazy.
In addition to Tim, the audience meets Janice who also doesn’t seem to fit into society. Janice doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life and laments, “I was just born into this life and I’m supposed to know what I’m doing … I just feel lost.” She currently works as a temporary worker. Janice attempts to make the best out of her situation but her boss tells her that she is not personable. With a lack of a steady job, Janice is unable to make timely rent payments. Janice sees no other choice than to move in with her younger sister. Jill welcomes Janice into her home and wants to help her older sister. Unfortunately, Jill’s concept of helping Janice amounts to pressuring her to do what she believes is best for her sister, which is not necessarily what Janice wants. Janice encounters the giant mechanical man on a street corner and opens up to him not knowing who is underneath all of the makeup.
Tim suddenly becomes a bachelor and Janice faces pressure from her demanding sister to find a job immediately. Simultaneously, Janice and Tim are both seen perusing the newspaper and discovering an ad for multiple positions available at the local zoo. Tim accepts a maintenance job cleaning animal cages and picking up trash. Although Janice is told she is overqualified, she accepts a customer service associate job selling grape juice in gorilla shaped containers. Janice first meets Tim when she is looking for the zoo’s employment office. She asks for directions and Tim jokingly acts like he is an exhibit rather than a zoo employee. Janice remembers Tim’s quirkiness and soon the two zoo workers encounter each other working quite frequently. Later in the film, Janice notes, “That zoo job is the best thing that’s ever happened to me.” Their menial jobs become something to look forward to each day with the thought of seeing each other.
Jill is pressuring Janice to date an author named Doug. Janice believes Doug is perfect for her sister regardless of what Janice thinks of the prospective suitor. Doug is a motivational speaker with an arrogant personality. He has written a book titled, “How to Have Winning Conversations.” Jill gives Janice a signed copy of the book and tells her that she is going on a date with the author. Without any say in the matter, Janice meets the conceited man. Doug is extremely boastful and Janice is not attracted at all. Yet Jill keeps finding ways for her sister to be with Doug. The forced meetings with Doug inevitably lead to a misunderstanding between Janice and Tim.
Throughout the film, Janice and Tim become increasingly close. They also help each other and a bright future finally seems possible. The giant mechanical man performing act entrances Janice as it will entrance the audience. The performance is a step away from the regular routine of life and allows the passer-by to forget about his or her worries if just for a few minutes. Janice and Tim hear someone say that it just takes one person to make you feel like you belong in the world. Prior to meeting, Tim and Janice believed themselves to be lost but upon finding each other, may finally have a sense of belonging and purpose. As an aside, Janice notes she is from Wyoming and Tim remarks he has heard the mentioned state is beautiful. In a particular scene, finding out one of the main characters is from Wyoming is sure to cause any local reader to smile. Anybody who desires a cute romantic story concerning two people feeling lost is sure to be glad they encountered “The Giant Mechanical Man.”