When 12-year old Josh Baskin is denied a ride on a roller coaster for being too short, and is therefore embarrassed in front of his dream girl, he wishes himself big at a fairground fortune booth. The next morning he awakes as a 30-year old Tom Hanks, complete with chest hair, deeper voice and a ripped pair of space pyjamas. So ensues a fish-out-of-water comedy, as Josh, having been chased from his house by his understandably terrified mother, must fend for himself in the big wide world.
Hanks is incredible as man-child Josh, in his first truly memorable role, utterly convincing in an underappreciated performance, arguably Hanks’ best, be it kneeling on a chair, eating Oreos or simply swinging his bag as he walks, every touch adds to the sense that this really is a 12-year old boy in a man’s body.
If there are any faults, they lie in the third act, when the clichés drop thick and fast into this previously original movie. Josh begins to realise his responsibilities and grows up, ditching his best friend for a girl and eventually, if a little suddenly, realising that he just wants to be a kid again. There is also one of the most uncomfortably wrong relationships ever seen in film between Josh and corporate climber Susan (Elizabeth Perkins), so squirm-inducing it probably would have been omitted today (that said, it’s just as bad as the centuries-old vampire/teenage girl romance from Twilight… not that I know anything about those films). But regardless of however many faults the film may have, one scene, featuring Hanks, his new boss (Robert Loggia) and a giant floor keyboard in a toy store, makes any film worth watching. This is the kind of scene that never fails to cheer me up.
Choose film 8/10