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The movie, a comedy about groups of miniaturized humans who live in tiny villages (all to save an overpopulated planet), is an outrageously matter-of-fact science-fiction fairy tale — a kind of live-action Pixar movie on acid.It’s “Honey, I Shrunk the Adults” made by a deadpan social satirist.Their assets are now worth 100 times what they were, and they’re invited to settle into sprawling Mc Mansions and enjoy a life of endless hedonistic leisure. The idea starts to look more and more appealing to Paul Safranek (Matt Damon), a mild-mannered occupational therapist who dresses in plaid shirts and Dockers and is still depressed over not having had the ambition to become a doctor.Paul’s wife, Audrey (Kristen Wiig), yearns to move into a bigger home, which they can’t afford, thanks to the bank’s income-to-mortgage-payment ratios. That’s a simple tagline that sums up a powerful message delivered by Dan Pallotta just a few weeks ago at TED 2013. In his TED talk, Dan challenged some of the fundamental notions about how nonprofit organizations should function in our society.He made a strong case that nonprofits should be given more license to invest in talent, innovation, and powerful marketing strategies—together often called “overhead”—to solve some of the world’s greatest social challenges.Film Review: ' Downsizing' Reviewed at Paramount screening room (Venice Film Festival), August 18, 2017. Production: A Paramount Pictures release of a Paramount Pictures, Ad Hominem Enterprises production. Producers: Megan Ellison, Mark Johnson, Alexander Payne, Jim Taylor, Jim Burke.

After talking to a downsizing counselor who sounds like she’s hawking theme-park condos, Paul and Audrey decide that they’re going to take the plunge. Payne has a blast with the transformation sequence, a sinister procedure that involves having your fillings and body hair removed and then being lifted, nude and unconscious, by what look like giant spatulas.It says that our obsession with having a “better life” can reduce us, and that life will always be a stranger journey than the one we thought we were choosing. With: Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Jason Sudeikis, Udo Keir, Neil Patrick Harris, Laura Dern, Brigitte Lundy-Paine, Neil Patrick Harris, Joaquim de Almeida, Margo Martindale.But the movie, in the end, is more amusing than exhilarating, and what should be its emotional payoff hinges too much (for my taste) on the director’s apocalyptic vision of climate change. The most humane aspect of Alexander Payne’s movies is that he extends the hand of empathy to flawed heroes who are the most deeply ordinary of schlubs.In his greatest film, “Sideways” (2004), he and Paul Giamatti made that kind of character electrifying; in “Nebraska,” not so much.

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