We all know someone like Paul Aufiero, the hefty antihero of “Big Fan.”
Paul lives for professional football – and the New York Giants in particular. The other days of the week are just a distraction from the joys of Sunday football.
The film, out Jan. 12 on DVD and Blu-ray, details what happens when Paul crosses paths with his team’s star QB – but not the way he expected.
It’s an intriguing portrait of a man whose value system places sports radio trash talk above any other ambition.
Sports fans will relate, and maybe wince a time or two.
Comedian Patton Oswalt plays Paul, a parking garage drone who spends his down time scribbling notes to share with his favorite sports radio host (voiced by Scott Ferrall of SiriusXM fame).
Paul is in his 30s but still lives with his mother, much to her dismay. His brother is a successful, if a tad oily, lawyer. And yet Paul pays sibling rivalry no mind. He just wants to see the Giants make the playoffs – and to watch the Philadelphia Eagles get trounced every Sunday.
He can’t afford to see the Giants in person, so he tail gaits each Sunday with his longtime bud (Kevin Corrigan, indie films’ go-to Joe Sixpack) and watches the game from an old TV.
Life is good … enough.
But when Paul dares to follow his favorite Giant player inside his favorite watering hole his life takes an unwanted detour.
Oswalt, with his doughy face and Everyman physique, is the perfect choice to play Paul – at first glance.
But a more experienced actor could have found richer notes to play in the performance. Here, Oswalt’s emotions are all on the surface, robbing the film of a texture it could have gained with a more sensitive actor in the part.
Robert Siegel, who previously wrote “The Wrestler,” delivers an authentic slice of Jersey in his directorial debut. The accents, the clothes and the attitudes all ring true, as does Paul.
“Big Fan” lets us into into a life that doesn’t seem worth exploring but eventually proves our first impressions wrong.
(Photo: Patton Oswalt and Kevin Corrigan root on the G-men from the Giants Stadium parking lot in “Big Fan.”/Vivendi Home Entertainment)