With the reunion of comic Billy Crystal and Castle Rock and the plot device that has very New York and desperate talent agent Sammy (Crystal) happening upon his deus ex machina client Max (seven-foot-seven Gheorghe Muresan) in deepest Romania (the Czech Republic was the actual location), My Giant was no doubt somebody's idea of 'City Slicker' goes East.

But the problem here is that the device of teaming these most unlikely characters-one desperate to save his career, the other desperate to find his long-lost love in America-never jells. Weighed down by too much contrivance, Crystal and Muresan are strictly at the mercy of a formulaic story that brings them to the U.S., where the giant is launched stateside in a tasteless giant-vs.-midgets arena act in Cleveland. (So much for Sammy's 'Trust me!') Eager for some classier gigs, the pair then move on to Vegas, where Sammy has heard via his film-buff kid Nick (Zane Carney of TV's 'Dave's World') that Steven Seagal is shooting a movie. Known for his persuasive gifts, Sammy is determined to get his giant into the Seagal epic.

On-target comic situations are what should fuel their journey through the plot, but, as rendered by writer David Seltzer (The Omen, Shining Through), the agent and the giant are also at the mercy of trumped-up emotions derived from Sammy's estrangement from his family and Max's single-minded desire to find the girl he kissed years ago in a corner of his village. My Giant also sinks into melodrama as Sammy learns that his giant suffers from a heart condition associated with people of large size. And then there's the matter of Max's long-lost girlfriend found in New Mexico but refusing a reunion. Of course, this sad turn of events manages to save Sammy's own marriage.

On the plus side, My Giant is well-intended and often sweet. And it does serve up some amusing bits. While still in Romania, Sammy manages to cast Max as the villain in a medieval war saga. Prior to the camera rolling, the giant, just plucked from the monastery where he was the simple caretaker for years, is unable to deliver his single line without some wine to embolden him. What follows is a disgusting but funny vomit scene in which the obnoxious young male star of the saga (Sammy's nemesis) becomes the unfortunate benefactor of Max's excess. But most of what tickles is more palatable. Back in America, Sammy brings Max home to a dinner with his Jewish New York family, where an outspoken yet sincere aunt nearly disrupts the gathering with a candid question about Max's anatomy.

Ultimately, My Giant, directed by Michael Lehmann (The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Heathers), is a by-the-numbers road comedy with predictable signposts and not enough giggle-provoking pitstops along the way. Another disappointing outing for Crystal and Castle Rock.

--Doris Toumarkine