The Whale (2022)

Bloated ‘Whale’ goes belly up

There’s much ado about Brendan Fraser’s king-sized portrayal of a doomed 600-pound Idahoan college professor in “The Whale.” But the stagey, often ridiculous movie he’s wedged into, alas, is thin as a rail.

Surprising, since it’s the usually competent Darren Aronofsky (“Black Swan”) at the helm. He does the best he can within the claustrophobic construct of Samuel D. Hunter’s adaptation of his own stage play. The most striking flaw, besides Fraser’s cheesy fat suit and plasticized quadruple chin, is the sitcom structure wherein a handful of visitors wear out the hinges on the front door of an apartment we’re led to believe has become a “very lonely” dwelling for Fraser’s Charlie.

This parade of “guest stars” includes his bitter, resentful teenage daughter (Sadie Sink), his chief caregiver (Hong Chau), a door-to-door missionary (Ty Simpkins) and the proverbial ex-wife (Samantha Morton). None of this troupe, including Charlie, possesses a hint of inner life. They are all one-note “types,” with zero personality.

Aronofsky seems equally devoid, repeating many of the same father-daughter themes he explored more affectingly in “The Wrestler.” You can cut the monotony with a knife. Melville’s “Moby Dick” weighs in a time or two, no surprise, mostly by way of a corny essay Charlie clutches like a double-stuffed hoagie. Like the movie, it’s not nearly as profound as it’s touted to be. Stick a harpoon in it!

Movie review

The Whale

Rated: R for sexual content, language and some drug use

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins) and Samantha Morton

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Writer: Samuel D. Hunter

Runtime: 117 minutes

Grade: C-

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