Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Larger Than Life


Bill Murray is a sleazy motivational speaker whose father dies and leaves his estate to him. This is a big surprise, because his mother told him the old man had been dead for forty years. Turns out Dad was a circus clown and about all he owned was an elephant. Now Bill is going to owe a ton of money to a sleazy lawyer unless he can get the pachyderm to California and sell her either to Janeane Garofalo for repatriation to Sri Lanka, or Linda Fiorentino for a circus. So he sets out to do that. Every once in a while comedy breaks out.

Both the ladies above are barely in the movie at all. In fact, all the parts but Bill’s are virtual cameos, the true co-star being an elephant named Tai, who would star fifteen years later in Water for Elephants. And she almost makes the whole silly business worthwhile because she is so amazingly smart. Any behavior you have ever seen an elephant do, Tai can do. Her repertoire is amazing. In particular, I have seen movies of elephants in Thailand lying in rivers getting washed and seeming to enjoy it. (I have also ridden an elephant in Thailand, but not in the water.) I have seen videos of elephants swimming. What I had not seen was an elephant in moderately deep water frolicking like a golden retriever. This old gal is frisky as a puppy, doing back flips and somersaults, I kid you not. It must be a gas for something as big and lumbering as an elephant (the only mammal that is incapable of running, though they can walk much faster than you can) suddenly freed of all that weight, almost in free fall. I’ll bet they’d really enjoy themselves if we ever build a space station big enough to hold them.