By Lisa Schwarzbaum
Updated November 15, 1996 at 05:00 AM EST

Larger Than Life should be the kind of broad, high-concept family comedy Bill Murray excels at: He plays a joyless motivational speaker, bequeathed an elephant by the circus-clown father he never knew, who has to schlepp the beast from Baltimore to San Diego by train, truck, and foot to sell her. But the trek is long, the direction (by Murray’s Quick Change colleague Howard Franklin) is soft, the script (by Roy Blount Jr.) is windy, and the occasional laughs are as heavy-footed as the thunking lead pachyderm herself. Furthermore, a couple of its costars are probably wondering what in the Sam Hill they were thinking when they signed on, since they are singularly ill-used. Matthew McConaughey (in a gig he fulfilled before his A Time to Kill hype) is momentarily funny as a long-distance trucker on speed, but his shtick, which was expanded mid-production, gets no funnier with extended screen time. Linda Fiorentino is declawed and tamed as a flashy booker of animal talent. And, most dispiriting of all, Janeane Garofalo looks dazed and defeated as a zookeeper (yes, a Truth About Cats and Dogs-type — what’s up with that?) with not a single bright line to say. D