Downsizing [2017] ★★

Whether he’s teaching us a wine lesson in “Sideways” or simply taking us on a road trip with a father and his son in “Nebraska”, director Alexander Payne has managed to put a personal stamp on everything he does. I didn’t love his newest film, “Downsizing”, and come to think of it this is a first for me with Payne movies. I admire its premise, about a man (Matt Damon) who realizes he needs to shrink himself in order to live a happier life without the burden of wealth. You can’t ask for a better story to hook you in, but the end result is a serious misfire. What starts out as a social satire soon turns into a man’s quest to find himself. I wouldn’t have minded such a turn of events if the second part of the film had some surprises up its sleeves, but it doesn’t. It seems Payne and his collaborators had a half-baked idea on their mind and had no idea what to do with it. It shows, especially during the disastrous final act. Too bad. Payne has given us so many unique experiences over the years; sorry to say, “Downsizing” isn’t one of them.

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