Alexander Payne has been one of the most consistent writer-directors of the last 20 years. Though most of his films have been modestly budgeted, they've attracted some of the biggest stars, including George Clooney, Reese Witherspoon and Jack Nicholson.
But Downsizing represents his biggest splash yet. With his largest budget to date, and starring Academy Award winners like Matt Damon and Christoph Waltz, it's a little bit of a detour as his dramedy gets a sci-fi bent.
In the not-too-distant future, Damon and Kristen Wiig play a couple stuck in the rat race, frustrated with their meager existence. After some friends take the plunge, they agree to be "downsized," a procedure that shrinks them, but lets them live in a high-end community they could have never afforded in the full-sized world.
But this trailer reveals more of the tiny world, and how even the shrunken inhabitants have the same problems with substance abuse and inequality. Still, I trust in Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor to find the humor in these all-too-human problems.
Downsizing opens on Friday, December 22.