We chuckled our way through Alexander Payne’s Downsizing yesterday. Well, to be exact, we chuckled our way through the first half. Taking a bonkers premise – Norwegian scientist invents a process for shrinking people to four inches high – the first half is a riot. Endorsed by governments as a solution to overpopulation and resource depletion, downsizing is a pretty sharp hour of gags following this premise. Sort of ‘Honey I Shrunk The Kids but think of the Lifestyle’ it plays well on the idea that if by being downsized with our current purchasing power, we can afford all the material possessions and lifestyle ‘Big Life’ denies us, then lots of people would. So you can have a Mcmansion, live in a fabulous gated community, drink champagne and never work again. But then, half-way through, it pivots in the space of fifteen minutes into a super-serious end-of-the-world ecoplyse now. Out go almost all the gags, in come scientists now saying ‘We’ve done the modelling and the outcome is extinction for humanity’. This second half works less well, let’s say.
So, when exactly should you stop watching a particular film?