"You might as well face it, you're never really going to get any bigger than this," so someone tells Jack Black's Gulliver early on in his version of Gulliver's Travels. The big/little juxtapositions continue throughout the film, not surprisingly, as director Rob Letterman previously tackled size issues in Monsters vs. Aliens. Gulliver lives in a tiny studio apartment (like most in New York City) where he spends his spare time playing with little Star Wars figurines, role-playing with Guitar Hero, and fantasizes living in an impossibly beautiful modern architecture house, depicted in a poster hanging up on his wall.
Gulliver lives and works in Times Square. His job is head mailroom clerk of a newspaper where he's got a crush on the travel editor Darcy (Amanda Peet). He tells her he's always wanted to write travel articles and when she tasks him with a sample assignment he plagiarizes internet travel sites and travel books in order to write an article and impress her. She loves it and sends him out on his first assignment to write about Bermuda — the Triangle, that is.
Gulliver's never piloted a boat before, nor even left the city, but he heads out to sea in the Ship Happens where he quickly encounters a huge storm. He wakes up to find himself tied down, with major scaffolding, and a very tiny yet imperious military person, General Edward (Chris O'Dowd, who practically steals the movie), claiming him as prisoner. And so the special effects portion of the film begins, along with lots of silly visual jokes (giant plumber's-butt crack) that the kids will love.
The effects are great. Lilliput has been imagined as a very pompous place — with long, wide (to the Lilliputians) boulevards (Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill, is used as the Lilliput palace). Gulliver meets Horatio (Jason Segel) in prison, "Before you arrived, I was the tallest man in Lilliput." Anyone familiar with Segel will enjoy the big man/little man joke here, too.
When the Lilliputian's long-standing enemies the Blefuscians invade, they attempt to kidnap Princess (Emily Blunt). Gulliver rescues the her; on the other hand she really looked like she wanted to be captured. But who can blame her? Her fiance is a nightmare and Lilliput is a bit on the boring side.
Gulliver also saves her father, the king (Billy Connolly) and puts out a fire in the castle in a scatalogical way. The grateful king and his court invite Gulliver to a celebratory banquet, with new best bud Horatio as his "plus one."
At the banquet Gulliver's natural tendency to "talk big" gets bigger than usual, as he tells his royal hosts that he was the President of the United States with Yoda as his vice-president.