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outrage

Cop-out! Benjamin Button Delivers Old-Man Baby But Botches Old-Baby Man

See? She's wearing clothes.

Sure, we cried at the end of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Pretty much anyone who's ever held a baby in his arms cried at the end of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. But our tears were tears of anger! Because we were angry! When we saw the old-man baby that Brad Pitt's character begins his life as, rendered in incredible detail through David Fincher's ingenious and near-perfect use of special effects, we got pretty excited about the movie's finale. But Benjamin Button totally copped out! Read our gripe, with photographic evidence (and spoilers!), after the jump.

So here is our problem with The Curious Case of Benjamin Button: David Fincher delivers the old-man baby the trailer promised, but completely botches it in portraying the old-baby man that Brad Pitt should've become at the end of the movie. Benjamin Button is born an old-man baby: a wizened, 80-year-old man, stuffed into a body the size and shape of a newborn infant's. His body grows taller and larger throughout his "childhood," until, by the time he's 18 or so, his body is the size of an adult's, even though he still looks, like, 60. So it stands to reason that, as Benjamin Button approaches the end of his life, he should become a child, and then a baby, stuffed into a body the size and shape of an old man's, right?

But David Fincher blew it! Instead of continuing the special-effects magic, Fincher just casts a 12-year-old who sort of looks like Brad Pitt, and then some baby with blondish hair. Which is, of course, a total cop-out. By the movie's own logic, elderly Benjamin Button wouldn't be a baby-size baby; after all, he wasn't born an old-man-size old man! (Unlike, by the way, F. Scott Fitzgerald's original short story, in which Benjamin is freakishly born full-size, bearded, and talking.) We were totally looking forward to seeing a creepy old-baby man crawling around. Could you imagine an elderly Cate Blanchett trying to rock and cuddle a five-foot-tall baby? It might have made the movie's dead-baby ending bizarre and awesome instead of mawkish and manipulative!

So why did Benjamin Button chicken out? We would never have guessed, given the movie's reported $167 million budget, but it seems like Paramount just didn't give Fincher enough money. "We just ran out of money," Fincher told MTV, when asked why he cast child actors as young Benjamin Button. "We could have made [Pitt] into a baby … If we could get the money to do him as a 12-year-old, I would have done him as a 12-year-old." That would be closer to what we wanted to see, and we would fully support Paramount giving Fincher another $50 million to re-create those scenes for the DVD, but we're still not convinced that he fully understands the old-baby man his movie's ending requires.

We were going to hire a professional artist to create a drawing of the perfect adult-size old-baby man, but then we realized that the giant baby from Spirited Away illustrates our point just fine.

We demand an old-baby man, David Fincher!

Photo: Courtesy of Paramount