Starring Jesse Bradford, Paula Garces, French Stewart, Michael Biehn, Robin Thomas, Julia Sweeney, Lindze Letherman, Garikayi Mutambirya
Rated PG for action violence and mild language
Previews (varies by theater): I arrived late and only saw Hey Arnold: The Movie (which looks awful.) I know - I have failed in my job as a reviewer already.
Yes, three stars. For this movie. The movie that opened at #5 in the box office. That everyone hated. That is so juvenile infants wouldn't like it. THAT movie. I liked it, SO sue me.
Yeah, it had it's weak points - but it was fun! I enjoyed watching it! The time flew by (no pun intended), the effects were good, the actors where charasmatic and enjoyable, and the plot, while admittedly a bit thin, WAS creative.
First of all, this is Bradford's big break. He's the lead and he owns the movie. He struts around the screen, having all the fun he can before the movie's short running time is up. He plays Zak, a bike-loving seventeen-year-old who just leads a normal life, trying to get his Dad to let him buy an old Mustang convertible (sound familiar? You're thinking Princess Diaries.) He finds this watch and soon is thrown into quite an adventure. Paula Garces is also fun to watch as his peppy, you-know-she-really-likes-him "friend." She plays a character named Francesca who's father is a Venezualen consul who has recently moved to the nameless city where Zak lives (although her license plate is California. Go figure.) Julia Sweeney is Zak's lovable Mom (what, you think Julia Sweeney was playing a character that ISN'T lovable? Hah!) (Cleo's note: See "It's Pat!: The Movie") and Lindze Letherman is his sister who, of course, is a snotty two-faced brat. Michael Biehn plays Zak's father who is a science prof. He develops the "clock-stopping" technology and is kidnapped for it. Zak has to save him (What? You were expecting something else?)
The effects are good (love the liquid nitrogen paintballs!) but the big chase climax is a bit weak, unfortunately. However it's cool to watch scenes where Zak and Francesca exact creative revenge on people who are doing, shall we say, low brow things. They include making a dog pee in a meter maid's car (which is even grosser in the movie than the preview), making a graffiti artist's paint can blow up in his face, and stringing a bike thief to the bike he stole by his nose ring (the little girls behind me went "Eeew!" to THAT, not the dog! Kids.) I should shut up though before I spoil the whole movie. See it. Take kids you know if you don't mind them hearing a couple "craps" and "that blows." The movie is not violent, the action violence thing the rating refers to either refers to the above-mentioned paintballs, or the car going over the bridge (you think I'm kidding.) Also, keep a look out for the cute little kid from Zeus and Roxanne now all grown up. That's him in the car at the end. Enjoy the show.
Inky can be reached at Inkynobi@aol.com.